Prepared by Lucia Valente
As noted in earlier blogs, Palestine is quite a different environment and a place that very few outsiders visit. Most people who do enter Palestine visit Bethlehem, Nazareth or Jericho – the places that are important to Christians.
On the other hand, I did not visit those places – I visited Tulkarem, Jenin and Qalqilya – towns where our team members reside. I got to see places that very few non-Palestinians see. And it was a wonderful and new experience.
The first thing that I noticed is how packed each town is – lots of people. That, for me, is one of the most noticeable observations. As I live in the countryside in Ireland, I do not see too many people from week to week. The other observation is the amount of activity – lots of little businesses and mixes of business everywhere. For those of us who live in Europe, it is strange to see car repair shops beside clothing stores or restaurants. It is quite unusual to see that. Also, there are no shopping malls – there are many old markets that date way back into history.
People are on the move all of the time – mini buses, cars, taxis and just overall lots of activities all day. Coming from Ireland, where we now have so many foreign nationals, it is fascinating to be in an environment where there are no foreigners. Everyone is Palestinian. I am considered ‘foreign’ and ‘exotic’ in Palestine. Definitely, I am a stranger in a strange land!
In Palestine there is a strong focus on education. Palestinians understand that a good education foundation is one of the only ways that provides opportunity. From what I have determined, the education system in Palestine is very good. We know, based on our team in Palestine, that the education foundation is strong. That is the main reason we reached out to Palestine to build our programming team. For the past two years we trained and are now working with a core team of programmers who are doing solid work for our clients in Europe and North America and soon expanding to Nigeria.
In a certain way, our team is closeted in Palestine and yet, through technology, they deal with professors and lecturers in Canada, the US, Europe and soon in Nigeria. Coming from an environment where travel is so restricted and as noted, few non-Palestinians venture, this is an amazing experience for our team.
From what I determine there is minimal manufacturing in Palestine and therefore there is little opportunity for such jobs and opportunities. As a result, many Palestinians have to move to other countries in the Middle East to get good jobs
One of the key goals in LoG’s Mission and overall Vision is to provide advanced programming training and career opportunities to environments where there such opportunities are not easily available. From what I determine there is minimal industry or manufacturing in Palestine and therefore there is little opportunity for such jobs and opportunities. As a result, many Palestinians have to move to other countries in the Middle East to get good jobs.
I thought, what if we focused on developing advanced skills sets that provide people with amazing career opportunities within their own country? Opportunities that do not require huge buildings and capital expenditure – as Peter Drucker noted in his famous book – this is the era of the ‘Knowledge Worker’ and Palestine is definitely an environment where ‘Knowledge Workers’ are vital to the success of the society. That is the main reason we are connected to Palestine
When we make a difference and give opportunity to one person and they in turn make a difference to another person . . .