Thursday 4 December 2014

Preparing the universities to the next visit

The next visit is really soon!! On 11th of December youth leaders from Palestine will be in England! And everybody in Cadfa is excited and a bit nervous because we want to do everything well.

Everybody in Cadfa is working hard and quickly in different areas: universities, schools, youth and women centres. Personally I feel really comnfortable being involved in the student area because in Spain I studied seven years in the univeristy and I know the university life very well. And I love it.
I have been at SOAS and KINGS University in London and the people are really interested in  Palestine and CADFA. I think we can do some nice activities together during the next visit. I hope so! And we can spend a good time enjoying the vibrant university life in Central London. There is a really good infrastructures inside the universities to prepare activities, and of course to learn together, share histories and culture.

I hope that everything will be perfect! because CADFA is trying to do the best for everybody and have a really nice time here! We put in a lot of energy every day!

Emilio Sanchez

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Student Meeting

Hi everyone,

yesterday we met some students from different Universities in the CADFA office and we talked about some organizational stuff for the next  student visit in January. Meetings like this really help me to understand how the student  twinning links work and what CADFA has to do, to built them up. Besides this, it is very interesting for me, because I  meet students, who are active in their university. So I also get a overview, how students organize volunteer work in universities. I am looking forward to the second meeting next week and hopefully we will see some new faces!!!


Saturday 15 November 2014

Olive Harvest

Picking olives with Al'Quds University students in Bet Reema near Ramallah.  

Thursday 13 November 2014

Stall at SOAS University

Hi everyone,

On Tuesday we had a CADFA stall in the SOAS University. Our goal was to find students, who want to be involved in our student twinning links. We were not just searching for students, who are already interested in Palestine or are already active for example in the Palestine Society of SOAS. Of course its good to get this people involved in our projects, but it is also very good to meet other people, who don't know so much about Palestine now.

It was sometimes really windy so we had to be careful with our leaflets.However I really enjoyed it, because we got a lot of positive replies and had some interesting chats. We talked about the next visits in December and January and the Al-Quds University in Abu Dis. Also the students were interested in general things about CADFA and how they could twin with Dar Assadaqa.

Student are mostly very busy, so it's hard for them to be involved in a project for as long as 10 days, but we met  a lot of students who are really interested in Palestine and volunteer work, so I am sure that we will have a great group, who will welcome the students from Palestine.



Disruptions to Student Life

Whether its traveling to university or life on campus, students face many disruptions.

Al'Quds University has a very good reputation in Palestine and students travel from all over the West Bank to study here. Abu Dis is surrounded by check points which means that most students will have to pass through one on their way to university. This can cause huge delays to their journeys and can be stressful.

There are also 'flying checkpoints' which the army can place anywhere at anytime. In the last year, 3 students were arrested at a 'flying checkpoint' at the university gates.

On campus, the army might turn up at any time, throwing tear gas and forcing students to run from their lecture halls and laboratories. In the last year over 2000 gas canisters were released on the campus by the Israeli army. On a day in January this year, 40 soldiers ambushed the campus and released over 500 canisters in one attack.

In the last academic year, 60 students were arrested without charge or trial, significantly interrupting their studies.

During an English class at the university, a student shared with us that her brother was arrested 4 years ago. He was taken from her house in the early hours of the morning and later died from neglect in solitary confinement.

Student activities are also affected. A music concert was cancelled last week due to the unrest in Jersualem and the resulting demonstrations all over the West Bank, including Abu Dis.

But life goes on. Here are some pictures of a successful event put on by the university. Mohammad Assaf, the winner of last years Arab Idol, is from Gaza and came to perform at Al''Quds University. It was a great evening for the students and for the whole community.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Twining links

To make a book with people in the other part of the world (Palestine) its the best example to twinning links. Students started in 2011 taking pictures about the differences to freedom in London and Palestine although they were living far apart from each other. They had decided to be in contact for a long time sending pictures, talking, and discussing about editing a book in London. And they started a very important project.

The "Twining links Project" creates a lot of material, such as books, leaflets, blogs, websites, and campaigns.
The groups in Palestine and the groups in London create different campaigns about student life in Palestine under occupation. For example a street campaign and petitions (Adam & Johar) This and visits from Palestinian students help to raise awareness of the situation in Palestine, this is the best way to reach people who are unaware. The main universities involved are Al Quds University, in Palestine, SOAS, UCL and Middlesex in London.

Student life in the Al Quds University is very different from student life in London. The Seperation Wall around West Bank seperates Jerusalem from the campus of the Al Quds University, so many students have a long and difficult journey to their University. Also tear gas is common in their student life and this causes disruption of their education. This is one of the reasons why student links have been established.

Dunja &  Emilio

Monday 27 October 2014

Hi from London University

Today some of us from Cadfa went to the university to talk to students about getting student linking going again this year. We met interested students at BIRKBECK, SOAS and UCL.

We went to a Palestine Society meeting at UCL.

This is just the beginning: our volunteers are going to have a stall at the university once a week

and we"re talking to the different university unions about the student visit in January

And we're going to work with students to start putting things on this blog... Nice to see what you've put on there in Palestine, it looks really good-

More soon!

Saturday 25 October 2014


Today we ventured off to Jerico with the university. We walked proud in our lime, green tops, representing Rights and Justice for Palestinians, supported by many volunteers who freely work for the Red Crescent medical support services and today supported us. We walked around the land, between mountains and the completed our trek by gathering together at the Environmental Center for a meal and to celebrate the work carried out. It joined people together, united for Palestine!


Working with the university students

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Fun with teachers and students!

Health Awareness at Al'Quds University

Marking World Diabetes Day, and as part of a general health awareness scheme at Al'Quds University, medical students set up stations to measure people's blood sugar levels and give them imformation about the risks of diabetes. A cooking competition also took place to highlight the importance of healthy eating in preventing and managing the disease. Budding chefs brought in traditional spicey chicken dishes, healthy fish platters, tantalising taboulah and sugar-free desserts. The food was artistically presented and after the critics had sampled all, hoards of students tucked in. Local television reported on the event and we were very pleased when a local CADFA volunteer, Diana, came second place!

Here is a link to the facebook page:

Saturday 12 April 2014

Using twitter to break news from Palestine in the UK

In Palestine, everyone is on Facebook and young people use it all the time to share news about Palestine and talk about political issues, as well as the usual personal updates.

But twitter is hardly used here despite the fact that it is a far more effective way (when used correctly) to tell a mass audience when something happens in Palestine that they want the UK to know about.
Did you know...?

-          230 million people are actively using twitter
-          40 million people signed up to twitter in 2013 alone
Not only are there are lot of people to reach on twitter, credible journalists in the UK use twitter to find stories. The Guardian has publicly stated that on average, one in 10 of the stories they report originate from twitter.
We discussed twitter, how it works, and how we could use it to tell journalists in the UK when something worth reporting has just happened in Palestine.

Working through a real life scenario
To understand how to use twitter to break news, we worked through a real life scenario of an incident that had happened a few weeks ago in Palestine. A 14 year old boy was killed just south of Hebron a few weeks ago when he was climbing the partition wall reportedly to collect herbs for his mother to cook with.
This story appeared nowhere in the UK but eventually ended up in an article by Press TV where they highlighted how terrible it is that this never made it into the UKmedia.

Of course there are issues of biased reporting, but we talked about how it is often the case that a story is not reported because the information, evidence and sourcing is simply not good enough for the journalist to feel confident about publishing the story. If that evidence does eventually come to light, time has passed and the news has moved on so the story gets lost.

Step 1:
BEFORE you tweet, get the vital information you need to make sure your contact with a journalist has the best chance of becoming a news story:
-          Location
-          Time
   -          What was he doing when he was shot? Was he armed (even with rocks)?
-          Confirm his age
-          Who told you and how do you know it is true?
  -     Was he with anyone and are there any eye witnesses who can talk about the incident            first hand?
   -          Do you have contact details for someone who knows him personally or was there at
      the time who can speak about him or what happened?

Other information it is good to have if possible:
-          Has anyone reported the story outside of the UK (e.g. local news site)?
-          What is his name? (not essential)
-     Are there any photos available? (if not it is ok, but good to know if there are any)

Step 2:
  Find the best person/people to tweet at:
-          Which journalists in major news outlets have written sympathetically about Palestine
-          Are there any advocacy groups that are really good at getting attention and can help
      promote your message?

Step 3:
Compose your tweet and do it quickly – the ‘newer’ the news the better:
-          If the ‘story’ happened more than 24 hours ago, and it isn’t in the news yet, the    
      chances are you are too late.
-          Get the attention grabbing information with key facts in the tweet and don’t worry           about the details
-          Use hashtags that help you appear when people are searching for information about
-          Use ‘@’ to directly get the attention of one or two key people

The tweet they composed
”14 yr old unarmed boy killed 2 hours ago in #Hebron#Palestine by #israel soldiers @BBCWorld @ [PressTVjournalistname] PM for details”

This tweet has all the key facts to get the attention of the journalist and by saying ‘PM me for details’ you are letting them know that you can back up your story with more information for them to report. The tweet uses @BBCWorld because the Middle East correspondent Kevin Connolly is not on twitter (ideally we would get his work email address and email him directly too!). By adding a Press TV journalist, we are more likely to get some coverage because they are very pro Palestine will go out of their way to build the story. From this, it may go on to get reported in the UK more widely.