Updated: Jan 7
At the Mazra’a branch of the Federation of Working and Studying Youth Movement, all activity has been moved to phones and computers. “We talk with the kids about the coronavirus, the situation, and their thoughts and feelings,” says Moustafa Gaadbaan, counselor | The branch’s students made a video calling on the residents of their Arab town in northern Israel to follow the regulations slowing the virus’s spread
By Yaniv Sharon, March 22, 2020
In regular times, the Mazra’a branch of the Federation of Working and Studying Youth Movement is like any youth movement club – discussions of students and counselors, games and hikes. But for the past two weeks, due to the coronavirus crisis and the restrictions on gatherings, all of the branch’s activities have gone online. “We made a whatsapp group in which we invite the students to participate in online video meetings,” says Moustafa Gaadbaan, a 19 year old counselor in national service. “We talk with the kids about the coronavirus, about the situation, and their thoughts and feelings. We also play with them through the app.” The counselors also hold staff meetings via videoconference.
Mazra’a is an Arab town near Nahariya in northern Israel with some 3,800 residents. The youth movement branch is a major factor in the town’s education system. With the schools closed and routines drastically changed, the relationships between students and counselors allows for continuity, discussing the situation, and even social action.
Gaadbaan, who is in his second year of national service, joined through the Shlomit organization. He tells us that last week, the head counselor in the youth movement branch called him and proposed that the kids make a video for the entire community. The counselors and students immediately met the challenge, and within 24 hours uploaded a video. Gaadbaan says that the students loved the idea and were happy to participate, meet (virtually), and do something about the situation. In order to stay in line with Ministry of Health regulations, the counselors talked to all of the kids about the video and they planned filming at home.
On the morning of filming (which was last week, prior to rules forbidding leaving home), the counselors called each student and invited them individually to be filmed at the head counselor’s home. Gaadbaan and his friends took the video editing upon themselves. The next day, the video went up, with participation from all ages in the youth movement (10-18), explaining the symptoms of COVID-19 and calling on anyone experiencing them to go get tested. They also explain the rules of behavior to slow the virus’s spread.
According to Gaadbaan, the responses of parents and the community were enthusiastic. “The video is the result of cooperation and support of the students, parents, head counselor and regional office. I want to thank everyone for their work and support. Even today nobody has stopped working; everyone is making their best efforts to create activity and care for the students."