we’re so pleased to announce the first award winners of the burning phoenixes goes to:
Palestinian Animal League (PAL)
– Occupied Palestinian Territories (West Bank)
The only locally-run animal protection organization in the occupied Palestinian territories, PAL was founded in 2011 by Ahmad Safi.
Following the ethos of “helping animals, empowering people”, this organization’s work strives to be inclusive and holistic as it works with many different local communities in the West Bank.
“Young Palestinians for Animal Protection”, a current programme of PAL, exemplifies their grassroots approach and transformative contributions to society.
Beginning in early 2015, this project has educated and trained a total of 52 student volunteers (from Al Quds (Abu Dis), Al Najah (Tulkarm) and Bir Zeit (Ramallah) universities) in a variety of areas, including leadership, campaigning, advocacy, animal welfare and animal ethics.
These 52 students have since become mentors to other school children in the West Bank, helping more students to devise, develop & deliver their own projects for addressing animal welfare in their local community. Some of these past student projects have included:
- caring for companion animals,
- promotion of a vegetarian and vegan diet,
- being kind to animals,
- tackling problems involving street animals humanely
- encouraging classmates to learn about animal protection & environmental issues
All these projects have been led by the children themselves and have applied creative approaches to deliver the messages to their peers, such using as theatre, art, classroom discussions, social media promotion, and healthy eating programmes.
So far, over 280 children have taken part in this project through 20 distinct groups at 14 different schools or community groups in the West Bank. In turn, these 280 participants have successfully reached over 1,000 other youths as they shared their own projects with classmates.
The project is continuing in 2016, with Bethlehem University joining the efforts.
The PAL team has described their efforts as especially important for the young people living in an area already heavily affected by ongoing conflict.
By encouraging an important sense of self-worth, PAL participants are realizing their own huge potential to do good and how to make a difference in their own communities.
The impact PAL is having on Palestinian youth and animals in the West Bank cannot be underestimated.