In January Sadaka Reut held its first Youth Seminar of 2013 in Givat Chavivah. Sixty people participated in the seminar from the different regions of Sadaka Reut’s activities of Kalansiyah, Taybeh, Natanya, K’far Kasem, Jaffa, Kiryat Shalem and K’far Shalom.
The educational staff from the Youth Project chose to focus the seminar on housing rights, as a basic human right for all. The seminar opened with a plenary, following which participants were split into three groups for icebreakers and getting-to-know-you activities. The first workshop dealt with the question “What does home mean to me?” Participants shared with their group what characterizes their home, what they love about it, and what feelings home produces for them, which included security, protection and shelter. Many of the participants shared personal stories and we learned how holidays are celebrated in different homes and the in different cultures. In the evening we had fun team-building activities for the participants-they prepared food as a team and sang karaoke songs in Hebrew, Arabic and English.
On the second day we went from dealing with the personal to learning about housing rights in the state of Israel, which is a signatory to the Convention on Human Rights. The workshop raised a lot of questions and discussions about the fact that 70% of the citizens of the Israel cannot afford to buy a home even taking out a mortage.
Later the seminar hosted three political and social activists from places where there are housing struggles, each participant chose one housing struggle to understand in greater depth; Hana Amori, the co-Director of Sadaka Reut discussed the housing struggle in Yafo. Yael Ben Yefet , the Director of the organization “The Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow” and former Tel Aviv-Jaffa city council member, spoke about the struggle in Kfar Shalom. Shirli Shirabi from the Dora neighborhood spoke about her leadership role in the 2011 protests in Netanya.
Mahmad Amar, a participant from the Kfar Kasem group said about his experience, “I am really happy to meet people from many different places that come from different environments. I learned a lot about the issue of human rights generally and the issue of housing rights in particular, and the violations of these rights in the country. Where I am from, in Kfar Kasem, there are a lot of home demolition orders due to ‘illegal building’ and no one does anything about it. I hope that it is within our power as young people to create political and social change.”
In a conversation with Uri from the group from the Democratic School in Jaffa we heard, “I believe that the tycoons are the ones that are ultimately ruling Israel because they have so much money, therefore 70% of the public in Israel can not buy an apartment. We as youth have the same rights as all other citizens and we must act to bring about political change and social equality.”
In the final unit of the seminar the participants applied what they learned to work on the design and creation of posters relating to housing rights. Over the next month the participants will choose which one of their posters will be designed and printed professionally. The participants will hang up the printed poster in the different towns and neighborhoods that they are from as part of their political activism in Sadaka Reut.