Close your eyes and count to ten. Now open them again. Do you still know where you are? Do you still have a sense of who you are? I think I did, up until the vulnerable age of 9 when life as I knew it ceased to exist. When I opened my eyes to find myself immersed in a sensation of complete disorientation; where knowing where I was turned into a challenge, knowing who I am became a puzzle I still have not found the last piece to. Yet, it was that exact same moment that led me on my journey at SOS Children’s Villages.
Fate took me, along with my siblings to SOS Children’s Village Bethlehem in the holy city in the world. A place that forms a paradox; it is a refuge, a safe haven that creates hope. At the same time it reminds you that without an internal drive to strive for success you will simply fail. I know this is a harsh reality to endure, but it is the reality of the world we live in.
From my personal experience growing up, as a young man, no matter how much the people around you love you and try to guide you in the direction they see right, you just don’t listen. I challenged them, till I realized I should be challenging myself; channeling that energy to developing a better version of me. How I eventually went about it was through education. Despite all the obstacles I had to overcome, I learned that education was my key to success.
With the support of the now National Director at SOS Children’s Villages Palestine, Mr. Mohammed Shalaldeh, I enrolled at university after having left school for 10 years. So as you can see it took me a while to understand who I wanted to become, which is a contributing member to not only SOS Children’s Villages as an organisation but to the community at large in the field of child and youth development. I began with a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts which projects my inner soul, once completed, and inspired by the renowned words of Khalil Gibran: “To understand the heart and mind of a person look not at what he has already achieved, but what he aspires to.”
I made a promise to myself. That promise was fulfilled when I graduated at MA level with a Masters in Institutional Building and Human Resource Development, that helped me to move forward in my career at SOS.
With much pride I can say I am the Programme Director for SOS Children’s Village Bethlehem. I do not want to stop there though; through faith and perseverance my ultimate goal is to pursue my education, to attain a PhD in the field of child rights and youth development. Such a degree will contribute to the promotion of awareness and enhance the values of peace, freedom, and diversity in my society and above all influence decision making on a national level in Palestine.
Furthermore, working at SOS Children’s Village Bethlehem is a daily reminder that we can take destiny into our own hands by believing in one’s abilities no matter what others may think. Dreams and aspirations require vision, hard work and initiative, especially in a society that categorizes based on wealth and family status. That is why I feel the obligation to motivate children and young people in the care of SOS Children’s Villages into seeing how uniquely special and talented they are, to realize they can determine their future, as I see in them the person I was, the person I am and the man I want to become.
works as Programme Director in Betlehem at SOS Children's Villages Palestinian Territorries.
In 1999, I began my professional career at SOS Children’s Villages, in Bethlehem My functional responsibilities since then have variedly changed as the years progressively pass by. I was once a watchman, then activities’ coordinator, progressing forward to become development leader and later on promoted to village director - my childhood dream! Currently I hold the position of Programme Director at Bethlehem.
The story of my family and loved ones is as heart- rending as the high price life circumstances in Palestine demand. As a child, along with my five other siblings, we lost our parents. Yet, it was this immense loss that led to a whole new chapter opening up in our lives. An unfolding of events that began at the SOS Children’s Village in Bethlehem; experiences which shaped us all and enabled us to light up like six stars in Bethlehem sky! Alas, we are today independent, educated adults contributing to our society.
My life in society is as intensely challenging as the high price living in Palestine extorts. In my role as an active member of society I advocate peace and tolerance. In the face of dire hardships, discovering a sense in life, coupled with the pleasurable sense of diversity even amongst the small population in Bethlehem, make that portion of earth, a place worth living in.
My leisure time is part of the play of enjoying being with my thoughts, meditating and contemplating the world around me, all in an attempt to piece together parts of a complex puzzle called life. I also have a passion for music and the arts.