The Masa Bedouin Coexistence Fellow's aim is to bring English speaking volunteers to the Bedouin schools of Rahat to create enthusiasm, promote cross cultural exchange and coexistence and bridge the educational gap in English learning that exists in the Bedouin community. In addition, to provide a hands on, professional and educational internship program in teaching, NGO work, international relations, development, peace building and Arabic language for college students and young professionals.
Project Rationale: By official government statistics the Bedouin population is in the lowest socio-economic rung of the Israeli society. Young Bedouins today are facing a severe crisis. The high-school drop-out rates are very high, as high as 35%; high-school graduates entitled to a full diploma are less than 30% of the entire age group; less than 5% present are qualified for university – in comparison to 55% of the high school graduates in the general public. One of the major issues contributing to these statistics is the language barrier. English can be considered Bedouin student’s fourth language after written and spoken Arabic and Hebrew. Continuous poverty and neglect has brought them to both disregard their unique heritage and develop feelings of hostility and alienation towards the Israeli Jewish state. This in turn has been translated to an increase in crime and in feelings of discrimination and oppression in everyday life.
To solve the fundamental problem creating a cycle of instability in the Bedouin communities and the Negev, The Bedouin Coexistence Fellows brings English language learning and cross cultural exchange to the Bedouin communities using native English speakers from around the world working in schools and after school programs with Bedouin Youth. By doing so, it becomes possible to put a human face on a subject that is placed at a distant third in importance behind the study of Arabic and Hebrew. Additionally, these volunteers increase the incentive for learning what has today become the international language by creating a tangible link with a greater linguistic community. Coexistence, cultural exchange and enthusiasm for English are welcomed additions to the placing volunteers in schools.
A New Dawn's program is based on the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows as well as the US State Department's overseas language programs.
The target population to apply is:
Both male and female students and young professionals
Ages 20-30 (at the start of their involvement in the program)
Experience in a cross cultural exchange and formal or informal educational
High level English speakers
The Bedouin Coexistence Fellowship is a Masa-sponsored elite service learning fellowship that consists of volunteering, social enterprise and program building, Arabic language courses, English teaching, experience in NGO work and Arab-Jewish co-existence in Israel.
Participants volunteer in the Bedouin schools of Rahat and A New Dawn in the Negev's NGO programs on the ground that include working with at-risk Bedouin youth; running after school programs for Bedouin high school students; facilitating the Rahat and Be'er Sheva Language exchanges; writing grants and raising money for our many projects in the works.
Fellows train with local experts in non profit work, teaching, social enterprising, social work and peace building. The Bedouin Coexistence Fellowship is an immersive Israel experience, dedicated to co-existence programs between Jews and Bedouin-Arabs, and volunteering with at-risk populations.
Components of the Fellowship:
English Teaching in Bedouin Elementary School English as a platform for cross cultural exchange
Seminars about Israel, teaching, NGO work and the Bedouin community
Arabic and Hebrew Language Classes
Experience with business and entrepreneurship
Professional skills training
Trips across Israel and to other NGOs
Volunteer opportunities for experience in professional projects and running programs
Personal project to be launched into the Bedouin community