Meet our activists
Raya, 23 years old, was born and raised in Nablus, where she graduated from Al-Najah University, majoring in Media, TV and Radio broadcasting. She spent her teenage years volunteering with local organisations to help her community in the aftermath of the Second Intifada, and continues to be actively involved in conflict resolution.
“To make a positive impact in the community, we need to ensure that young leaders can practice democracy freely and take part in the decision-making process.”
May is a 22-year-old French language major, with a minor in Political Science and a diploma in Education from the University of Birzeit. After receiving a scholarship to study in France, she returned to Palestine and joined Zimam. At the same time, she was working 3 jobs in order to support herself and her siblings. Through hard work and perseverance, she has become the Student President of her faculty at Birzeit, which she describes as her biggest achievement so far.
"The way that Zimam had faith in me gave me faith in myself, and I wouldn't be where I am today without their encouragement and support. Zimam gave me confidence, and the work that they do gives me hope for the future. I urge everyone to push their boundaries and seek success, but also to realise how much stronger we are when we come together. "
Ala' enrolled into An-Najah University to study Political Science. He did not realise at this point how much he cared about helping others, but he joined the Zimam young leaders programme the day it began on his campus, simply curious to know more. His journey began at the Student Council as a representative of his faculty, but, after attending more and more of Zimam's trainings and workshops, he was then elected to be part of the senior leadership at the University Students Council, representing 25,000 students.
"Thanks to Zimam, I've gained skills, networks and learned strategic thinking. They've taught me how to look forward and how to be responsible, as a citizen and a leader.”
Sondos is a 21-year-old civil engineering student at Al-Najah University, and a youth activist in Nablus city. She grew her interest in this field after she noticed the impact that Zimam was having on her friends.
“Zimam managed to develop my cultural and political awareness of the situation around me. With their help , I have learned to pay attention and to accept other people’s ideas and perspectives. Zimam supports me to improve my confidence in addition to my knowledge , essential to my happiness and success!” - Sondos
Saif is a 20-year-old student from Nablus, and one of Zimam’s up-and-coming leaders, hosting sessions among Nablus activists about the two-state solution, non-violence and civic peace. Thanks in part to the leadership training provided by Zimam, Saif is now a prominent student politician at Al-Najah University, and even staged a sit-in in the center of the city, calling on Palestinian politicians to put aside their divisions and unite in order to build a Palestinian state. Thanks to the work of leaders like Saif, and his colleague Alaa Salous, Zimam’s Nablus chapter is now the biggest in Palestine, with a massive presence on campus, representation on the Student Council, and some of the most creative local campaigns in the West Bank.
“I believe in peace. Peace can be achieved when Palestinians are finally granted self-determination.”
Qays is a 19-year-old student from Nablus, where he studies English Literature and Hebrew Language at Al-Najah University. Born in Dubai and moving to the region in early 2016, he started youth activism with Zimam because he believes in the two state solution, non-violence and civic peace. Qays today is the Coordinator of the English Department at Al-Najah University, and a member of the Zimam Youth Council. One of Zimam’s most active young leaders, he started by inviting many of the young students that he met in the English Department at university to Zimam's leadership programs. Today, thanks to Qays’ leadership and support, many of them have grown into young leaders and influencers in their communities.
“There is no alternative for the Palestinians and the Israelis but peace. Occupation must come to an end. We deserve liberty after tens of years of oppression.”
Murad is a 22-year-old Palestinian civil engineer and project coordinator at Palmec International. Also, Murad is a dedicated activist who works with multiple NGOs and political parties in the Middle East, Europe and the U.S, advocating for social justice and the rights of women and youth. Murad has represented Palestine internationally on several occasions, giving a voice to Palestinian youth. Within Zimam, Murad took the lead on the “Jerusalem Unites Us” initiative , which aimed to enhance and enrich the non-violent public movement to protect the Palestinian national project. He is now part of our 2019 Leadership Incubator.
Ahed is a 26-year-old activist from Rafah, Gaza. An English Language and Literature graduate, she has worked on youth activism in Gaza for many years. She is a board member of the "For Palestine" Youth Panel, a volunteer at the Culture and Free Thought Association, and the Vice-President of Zimam's Youth Advisory Council.
"I joined Zimam Palestine a year ago, and I have participated in many activities, trainings, and events focused on culture and leadership. These experiences have directed my energies towards what I know will lead me to a better future."
Majdi was recruited into Zimam through several events, having showed real potential as a promising future leader. Majdi went on to win Qalqilia municipality elections and took a seat at the municipality council. From 2012-2016, Majdi achieved tremendous results in improving water and electricity services for the citizens, as well as implementing education support programmes for students struggling with their final exams.
"I wish to see more local councils where youth are present. It is time that we had a voice.”
Ghali is an engineering student from Nablus, who has been volunteering and training with Zimam since 2016. Recently, Ghali joined Zimam’s Leadership Incubator.
“Zimam is not just a youth foundation, it has also changed me and helped me to become a more ambitious person. A person who has a goal in life to build change and help in developing my society.”
Mohammad is a 19-year-old student from Nablus, studying English literature. He has been a volunteer at Nablus Cultural Centre Hamdi Manko since 2015, and is now Chairman of the Volunteer Council, coordinating influential programs. Mohammad joined Zimam almost a year ago, and has since been heavily involved in many of Zimam's events and initiatives. He likes preparing young leaders and the training courses on debating.
Ranan is a 20 year-old English Language and Literature top student at An-Najah National University. She is the kind of person who loves volunteering and working with NGOs, and she joined Zimam in 2017. Since then, she has benefited from training on ice-breaking methods and communication, presentation and debating skills, and life-management coaching. This year, she participated in a two-day training program with the Palestinian Peace Coalition, discussing the important role of youth in creating change for Palestine.
“Discussing the problems in my life and getting consultation has made me a better person in dealing with them. Zimam makes me feel like I can overcome anything.”
Nada, 21, is in her final year at an-Najah University. Since her first year of college, she has been active on campus, including serving as the Vice President at the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. She is now the Chair of the IEEE’s Industrial Applications Society, part of the University’s Model United Nations society, and a volunteer with the Tomorrow’s Youth organization, as well as being a proud member of and trainee at Zimam.
“I always derive great joy from experiencing and exploring new things. I went to study in the U.S.A. for a school year in the YES program. While I enjoyed the U.S.’s community, I also like to give back to mine. I partake in a lot of community service.”