A year in the life of the Hands Up Project Coordinator.
Today is the 9th, April, and to you it could be just another normal day, but to me, it is a very special one. And here’s why!
Last year, on this particular day, I officially joined the Hands Up Project as the Gaza-based coordinator. I will never forget how I felt then; lots of emotions going round my head but pride was the strongest feeling of all. I was so excited and enthusiastic to start. Once I did, I immediately found myself taken by the job – as much as I hate to call it a job – because to me, it is much more than that!
The first day was one of the most memorable days of my time at work. I instantly made friends with everyone! They were very open and happy for me to contribute as much as I wanted to and were open to any suggestions and ideas. This instantly made me feel comfortable and definitely made me feel like part of a team. I am so fortunate to have known and met every one of you, whether it was virtually or in reality. You are the best part of this experience! ❤
I love my job! I truly do. It has been a challenging but also a highly rewarding role for me in this past year. Organizing sessions and events related to the HUP as well as administrating them was my main role. I’m a highly organized person and that’s why I’m good at what I do (seems like I’m bragging but it’s true). I am also known as a ‘people person’, or that was what a very dear friend once told me. And by that they meant, I really know how to talk to people and make them feel good and comfortable. Is that true? Or were they being too nice to me? These two features made me the right person in the right place! Bragging again- I’m sorry! 😂
Seriously though, I must confess that the Hands Up Project has given to me way more than I added to it. My level of English isn’t the same as when I started. My speaking and writing skills have improved dramatically. I had to send lots of emails and messages each day in English and I can speak now more confidently and more fluently than I ever thought I’d be able to. This is all basically due to the direct exposure to the natural English language used by our remote volunteers around the world! I got this from liaising with them about the sessions and also joining so many brilliant events that we run. Of course, I’ve gained so much more than English skills -these people have also become my very close friends. 😍
Anyway, enough about me and now let me tell you about my amazing year with the Hands Up Project. It was tremendously astonishing and an absolute privilege! Here’s a couple of sessions that will always be marked in my memory!
First session I remember going to was ‘Students Vs Teachers’. An amazing opportunity to empower students by giving them the chance to bring very difficult questions to their teachers. We were beaten so many times that I can’t remember! Those sessions are very innovative and one of a kind. The Hands Up Project was the first to come up with them! Isn’t that something to be proud of?😎
Another session I’ve been to is the ‘Show and tell’, in which students all over the world used to meet via zoom to show things or objects that meant something to them and to talk about it in detail. Other students listen and ask questions about it if they want to. To be honest, seeing that intercultural communication taking place was really heart melting! I mean, just to see the students, especially the ones from Palestine, who probably have never been given the chance to leave Palestine and interact with anyone outside their country, was really overwhelming!
I could go on mentioning all the sessions I have been to, but that would make it too long and also too boring for you to read! But a session I am really proud of is the ‘Oh, my home’ session which is all about families from all around the world gathering to talk about what home means to them. We shared ideas, thoughts, cultures and even kitchen recipes! I have been to all the three of them and I intend to go to every one of them.
Here’s the pictures from the three sessions!
Of course, I can never forget our new ‘Popcorn’ book launch, The International Women’s Day, and the Lockdown Remote Theatre competition of which I was responsible for delivering the trophies to the winning students! Those moments were and will always be very precious to me, and I’ll never forget them. Unfortunately, there are so many events which there isn’t space to mention here. All were massive events that I am immensely proud to have taken part in. The amount of hard work and creativity put in those sessions and events is just amazing! Thanks to everyone who was involved and to the ones who participated as well. It was a great pleasure indeed.
See below my popcorn t-shirt and the pictures when I gave those students their prizes! I look happier than the girls! I know!
I have had a lot of great experience learning my new work and I had made a lot of good friends and colleagues. Although it’s been only 1 year, it seems like we have known each other for many years. Thanks, my dearest Nick and Sara, my two great supporters of all times and my great source of power, inspiration and creativity. Thank you as well to all the teachers and remote volunteers for your endless love and support. I know I wouldn’t be able to succeed without you. I am very proud to have known you. ❤
This year has ended today, but I am eager to enter into an even more exciting and successful one. And yes, this means I’d love to keep doing this job for another year or even forever- unless someone has a different idea!
As long as the Hands Up Project exists, Rajaa will exist. ❤