You are very welcome to come and volunteer at Tent of Nations – we are always happy to have visitors staying at the farm and giving us a helping hand.
If you are interested in volunteering with us, please read the following useful information, find out about the volunteer roles which are available and apply using our Volunteer Application Form
Tent of Nations is based on Daher’s Vineyard, a family run farm situated on a hill-top about 9km southwest of Bethlehem. We grow olives, grapes, almonds and other fruit & vegetables and keep a selection of animals such as sheep, chickens, pigeons, dogs and a donkey. We are in the process of increasing the production of the farm and for this reason, and due to the economic situation in the West Bank, we are not yet at the point of producing enough crops to make profits from the farm commercially. Read more about the history of Daher’s Vineyard and about our vision for the land.
The Tent of Nations farm is warmed by a fun and friendly communal atmosphere and offers a space in which everyone works together. With a real mix of nationalities among the volunteers and regular visits from groups who come for day visits and short stays, the farm is characterized by its multi-cultural buzz and flow of people. Meals are provided for volunteers and everyone at the farm eats together every day. There are normally 4 long term volunteers throughout the year, and we accept short term volunteers from 15th March to 15th November, so there can be from 4 to about 25 volunteers at any time. You will find that the most common languages spoken are Arabic, English and German.
We believe in bringing people of all cultures and nations together and building bridges of peace through dialogue, understanding and friendship. The farm provides a space for people to work alongside, inspire and learn from each other. Read more about the Tent of Nations goals and vision.
We ask that you commit to working at least five days a week, for about 8 hours a day. You are then free to take time off to travel around the local area and visit the many tourist spots in this historic land.
Your day will start at 7am sharing breakfast with the rest of the volunteers. Most of the day will then be spent working on the farm with breaks for drinking tea, eating lunch, and finishing around 4-5pm.
You’re free to spend your time on the farm as you wish in the evenings – often after dinner volunteers and guests enjoy time around the campfire, playing games & sharing stories. If you are musical, please feel free to bring along your instrument and you can entertain us!
Volunteers are accommodated in a large well equipped marquee tent (with paved floors, solar-powered lights & beds with mattresses). The infrastructure at the farm is very simple as we are not allowed to be connected with running water or mains electricity.
We have composting toilets and solar-heated showers on sunny days, though volunteers must be aware that all of our water is collected from rainfall so we have to be careful with our usage. Our electricity must also be used with care as it is sourced entirely through our solar panels (with a backup generator). Wireless internet is available, though again due to the limited infrastructure available to us, it is expensive and we ask volunteers to be sparing with their usage.
We accept volunteers between 15th March and 15th November. We do not have the infrastructure to provide accomodation to volunteers during the cold winter months, except for 4 long term volunteers (who will be accommodated in our renovated caves). It is still possible to come as a day volunteer during the winter – particularly to plant trees in January to March, however we cannot provide overnight accommodation so you would have to find somewhere to stay nearby. See here for more information.
WHAT TO BRING
You will need to bring strong shoes, a torch light, working clothes (including working gloves if possible), sun cream, a sun hat and a sleeping bag. The weather in winter is normally cold and often windy, so please bring warm clothes, gloves, a hat and a rain jacket. Please see below for a guide to the weather throughout the year.
As the farm is on a hilltop 950m above sea level, it is usually a bit colder & more windy than other places nearby. The weather at night is normally cold, so please bring warm clothes and a rain jacket. You may also want gloves and a hat. Here is a guide to the weather throughout the year.
March/April - The weather is usually warm and windy with light rain. Temperatures usually range between 18º-24º in the daytime and around 10º in the evenings, however sometimes it can also be very cold & rainy during the daytime.
June/July – The weather is mostly hot, dry and dusty with temperatures between 22º-27º. It can get chilly in the evening.
August/September – The weather is mostly hot, dry and dusty with temperatures between 26º-32º. It can get chilly in the evening.
October/November – The weather is mostly hot, dry and dusty with temperatures between 20º-27º. It can get chilly in the evening.
For a number of years the Nassar family have welcomed visitors to come to the farm to enjoy Palestinian hospitality, to experience life on the farm, and to learn about their situation. The family do not operate this as a business, and do not seek to profit from volunteers visiting. However, the reality at the moment is that they would not be able to continue receiving volunteers without donations to meet the costs.
We therefore really welcome donations towards the cost of food and amenities for volunteers, as this is essential in order to help the project to be sustainable. Because of the unique situation in the West Bank, basic necessities like water, electricity, fuel, and food are all very expensive. To cover our costs in providing food, electricity & facilities to volunteers we recommend a donation of $70-$100 per week for short visits depending on what you can afford. If you are planning on volunteering longer term then we realise you may be on a limited budget and not be able to afford to donate as much. For longer visits of more than 1 month, we then recommend a donation of around $170-$200 per month. You do not have to make a donation, but at the moment it is the only thing that makes the project sustainable. We are working towards making the project self-sufficient in future.
We realise that you are already offering us your time and skills and we would love to be able to offer hospitality for free, but the reality of our situation means that this is really very difficult. We hope this doesn’t put you off from visiting – please talk to us about it if so. We really want you to feel welcome to visit our farm, learn about our situation, see what we are doing, and hopefully become good friends. The bottom line is that the friendship, support and enthusiasm of volunteers is far more important to us than any amount of money.
TRAVELLING TO “TENT OF NATIONS”
As you would expect, we cannot cover your travel expenses or insurance costs. You should be aware that some insurance companies exclude the West Bank from their cover, so you may want to ask them about this.
In order to get to the Tent of Nations you will have to pass through Israeli border controls and get an Israeli visa at the border. This will allow you to travel in both Israel and the West Bank. For many nationalities you will be able to get a free Israeli tourist visa when you arrive at the border which will last for 3 months. You need to have a passport which is valid for 6 months. For more information please see GoIsrael – Tourist visas. If you wish, it is possible to request not to have an Israeli stamp in your passport, however it is not guaranteed this will be granted. In such cases, you must fill out form 17L including your personal details, and that form shall be stamped by passport control upon entry/exit.
It is safe to visit the Tent of Nations. However, as you should be aware, the Palestinian West Bank is occupied by Israel, who control the area with their soldiers & other forces. You may want to get advice about visiting and should keep informed about the situation before your visit. If you have any concerns or questions then please do email or call us.
You can also find advice about travelling at UK Travel Advice.
If you are interested in volunteering with us at Tent of Nations, find out about the volunteer opportunities that we offer and apply using our Volunteer Application Form. If you have any questions regarding volunteering or any of the above, please get in touch.