The first TYO Center is located in the Zafer Masri Foundation Building in Nablus, which was built and endowed by Sabih Masri and is maintained by An Najah University.
The space includes 14 classrooms, offices, a conference room, dormitory accommodation for up to 20, and generous indoor and outdoor open spaces. The Center is located in the Khallet al Amood neighborhood of Nablus, which is not served by any other such organization. Residents have shown great hospitality and enthusiasm to collaborate with their new neighbors: TYO and its local and international staff.
One of the oldest cities in the world, Nablus is beautiful and of great historic importance. TYO, one of the few international organizations with a significant presence on the ground, is committed to bringing Nablus residents high quality programs and services that would not otherwise reach them. We welcome all community members and visitors to Nablus to come and tour the TYO Center.
The Nablus center serves as a hub for TYO satellite programs in the Northern West Bank, where the need is great and quality programs and investment are lacking. TYO currently works with the municipality of Salfit, a village 30 miles outside of Nablus, to provide extracurricular English classes and other programming to local children. In the summer of 2011, TYO began weekly ‘field days,’ taking activities on the road and out into the neighborhoods of the people served at the TYO Center for the past three and a half years. Throughout the summer, staff, interns, and volunteers travel to all the refugee camps of Nablus (as well as the Old City) to offer two hours of fun programming, every Monday, for all those children that might not be fortunate enough to attend TYO from week to week.
TYO serves children, youth and parents from the most disadvantaged areas of Nablus (four refugee campus, the Old City, and Khallet al-Amood).
Children who come to TYO suffer from traumatic events early in their lives, poor nutrition, poverty, and inadequate educational services. Classrooms are overcrowded and ill equipped to provide them with necessary individualized attention.
Refugee children lack the physical space for adequate exercise. Population density in Nablus’ 605 square kilometers numbered 530 persons per square kilometer in 2007, which is expected to rise due to population growth (UNRWA). Between 1997 and 2007, Nablus experienced more than a 20 percent growth in population. Natural population growth in refugee camps further compounds the lack of open space for children to play and exercise.
In addition to a lack of sufficient exercise space, Palestinian children suffer from poor nutrition. According to the UNRWA, an estimated 22 percent of Palestinian children experience acute or chronic malnutrition. The issue is exacerbated among refugee children, whose diets lack healthy levels of protein for normal development. More than a third of households interviewed by UNRWA noted an inability to meet immediate food needs and another 53 percent felt either financially secure for less than six months or unable to manage financially at all. Refugee camps have up to 30 percent unemployment rates, but even individuals employed on average live on less than 20 dollars a day (UNRWA).
The omnipresence of violence results in ubiquitous fear among young Palestinian children (UNRWA). Nearly 70 percent of children from refugee camps report either moderate or severe reactions to trauma. This extreme trauma at an early age often stems from the (sometimes violent) loss of a family member, late-night house searches or imprisonment, and more. The effects of these scarring events also impact their families, particularly parents who struggle to raise happy and healthy children in such a difficult environment.
In response to their trauma, children demonstrate signs of withdrawal, persistent nightmares, anxiety, the inability to deal with emotions such as anger, and attention deficiency. Furthermore, early childhood experiences of trauma can permanently affect brain circuits regulating stress and emotion. Trauma strips children of their childhoods, and TYO hopes to help some kids regain it in an educational environment through psychosocial programming that fosters critical personal development.
In Lebanon, TYO pursues opportunities jointly with Tomorrow’s Youth Organization Lebanon (TYO-L), a registered Lebanese non-profit, non-governmental organization.
Following early success of the Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus (FWEN) program — a a cooperation between TYO and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women (CBFW) — TYO developed a pilot program for women entrepreneurs in Lebanon, focusing on business, product, and market development. With continued support from CBFW and working with the Rene Moawad Foundation locally, TYO began implementation in Lebanon in the spring 2011. Read more about Women Entrepreneurs in Lebanon.
In Spring 2012, TYO-L and TYO will launch its first early childhood education program in Lebanon. In Cooperation with the Center for Arab Research and Development (CARD), the Child Friendly Schools Pilot Program will provide intensive workshops for teachers and administrators on the key principles of child and play centered learning, child protection, and other pillars of quality child friendly education.