Gaza Girls Program
Created in 2019, the Gaza Girls program brings together Tomorrow’s Women alumnae in Israel, the West Bank, and the U.S. with their peers living in The Gaza Strip. Home to a population of approximately 1.9 million people, including some 1.4 million Palestinian refugees, the Gaza Strip has been under continuous blockade from the Israeli government since 2007. We developed this innovative approach to overcome travel restrictions for young Gazans, whose opportunities to connect across borders are extremely limited.
“I never thought that I would get to know people from the other side. Through these meetings, we discussed the conflict, got to know about each other’s culture, our homes, and so much more. We focused on what we have in common – our shared humanity. We shared our voices even though it feels hard to change the world. We began to see that nothing is impossible if we speak up and raise our voices.”
– Gaza Girl, age 16
Through a series of online meetings facilitated by Tomorrow’s Women staff, participants are introduced to our core methods of Compassionate Listening and Authentic Speaking, taught leadership and peacemaking skills, and are able to share their personal stories. The goal of this program is to inspire hope for the Gaza Girls, and through these connections to the outside world, find ways for them to continue their studies and share their reality in the hope of a better future.
Application deadline is May 1, 2021
The Gaza Girls Program will start on May 20th with online meetings once a week for 9 weeks. There will also be 2 special cultural exchanges with young women in the United States in the month of August
Palestinian women including Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank, and Arabs from 48 between the ages of 18-25 passionate about social change and peacemaking who are interested in connecting with their peers to make a positive impact in their communities and the world
In 2004, Bessan Abuelaish, a 15-year-old from Gaza, came to our camp in New Mexico. Despite the many hardships she had faced during her young life, Bessan refused to give up hope for peace. Her light shone brightly. Five years later, Bessan was tragically killed in the fighting between Israel and Gaza, along with her two sisters and a cousin.
Bessan’s (1988-2009) memory lives on through her father Izzeldin Abuelaish, a medical doctor who worked in Israeli hospitals, and who published a book in remembrance of her called I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity. Tomorrow’s Women co-founder and filmmaker, Debra Sugerman created the documentary film Broken as a tribute to her legacy as a peacemaker. The Gaza Girls program is dedicated to Bessan and all those affected by war and violence.
Image: Malak Mattar