UK Visit – Second Week in Leeds

July 19, 2007

in News

After the wonderful time we spent in Leicester, we reached leeds on Sunday afternoon. Our Christian friends from Hare hills were waiting for us and gave us a warm welcome that we will never forget.

Besides participating in the International Breeze festival, the Palestinian youth group visited Allerton High and Abbey grange schools to tell their stories and perform some Palestinian dances in lessons, assemblies and discussion groups.

The Palestinian youth group and the young students in both schools engaged well with conversations and it was altogether a really successful and an educational exchange program where both groups at the end realised that they have a lot in common and more stories to share.

After the fruitful and successful program we had at the Allerton high school, the Palestinian group visited the MAZ Jewish community centre in Moortown. We were hosted by Rebecca Weinberg who showed us around the centre and explained to us about the work of the Leeds Jewish Welfare board.

We also had the opportunity to visit the City Council in Leeds. We had a tour in the City Council Building and  had the chance to meet the Lord Mayor of Leeds and to thank him for giving us the chance to participate in the Breeze International youth festival. And to show him our gratitude and appreciation, we gave him a simple gift from the Holly Land.

We are looking for a continuous cooperation with the City of Leeds so that another group from the Tent of Nations will have the chance to participate in the Leeds Festival in the year 2008.

During the evenings of each Breeze day the group from Harehills spent time relaxing with the Palestinian group, playing sports, attending dance workshops and chatting with the other participating groups.

Our Harehills friends, raised some funds to take the Palestinian group to the tropical world and to spend an afternoon in Leeds city centre and the Kirkstall Abbey Park . It was insightful for both groups to begin to comprehend the differences in their cultures and the restrictions with which we Palestinians live.

It was also very important for the Palestinian group to visit and engage  in discussion with young people from the Grand Mosque in Leeds.

The Palestinian young people also joined with 120 young people from all across Leeds to serve the community of Hunslet for 1 day on Saturday the 30th July. It was important for the Palestinian young people to understand that Leeds problems does not always hold true to the image that western media projects and that young people can make a difference to the city they live in.

Herd Farm was one of the fun places that the Palestinian group and many of the Breeze groups from different nations visited and participated in their outdoors activities.

The day before going home we went to Wales to visit the Center for Alternative Technology. It was a very interesting and important experience for all of us. Our idea of visiting this place is to open the eyes of our young people about using alternative resources such as solar panels and wind energy. Our dream is to develop a solar system and or a wind mill for producing electricity for the Tent of Nations. Until today, our electricity comes from a small Diesel Generator.

The time we spent in Leicester and Leeds with our Partner groups was very educational and recreational. We learned a lot from this exchange program. We hope that this relationship with our partner groups stays and grows stronger in the coming years. We also look forward to hosting them in Palestine in the near future.

We would like to make a special thanks to all the people who helped in organizing, financing this trip and worked hard to bring us to England and make the dream come true.

Special thanks to the Bishop of Leicester The Rt. Revd. Timothy Stevens and to Jacky  Farnell the Head teacher at Hope Hamilton Church of England (primary school) for the time, effort and generosity. We also thank all teachers and children at Hope Hamilton school for having us around for one week.

Special thanks to Kevin and his family, Reema , Alpert and Ursula, Magin, Paul, Georgina and her family, Collin and Susan, Kwan, Daniel, and Sue. We thank them all for their hospitality and for helping in organizing the program in Leicester during the first week.

A Special thanks for Mike Love and his organization for helping financing our trip. A Special thanks for Luke Burras who accompanied us and arranged our program in Leeds. We thank Lee Jackson for organizing the program at the Allerton High school.  We also thank Steve Watters and Duncan for their efforts and time.

A special thanks also for the Harehills youth group, for the wonderful time we spent with them and for their time in raising funds for our stay in Leeds, and for the Harehills Baptist Church for hosting us in the Church. We also thank the Allerton High and Abbey grange schools, The Grand Mosque of Leeds and the Jewish Community Centre for their warm welcome and kind hospitality. A Special thanks also for the city of Leeds and the Breeze organizers, and for all people who took care of us during our stay in Leeds.

At last but not least, we would like to thank all the people who helped us during our stay in England.

Thank you all for helping us keeping hope alive.

We are looking forward to hearing from you and hope to welcome you all one day in Palestine.

God bless you all.

Salaam from Bethlehem.

Tent of Nations Youth Group Leader

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