Kamal Yahia, an educator from the HaNoar HaOved branch in the northern Arab village of Sheikh Danun writes about how the youth movement changed his life. After joining as a participant in high school and completing the youth movement’s leadership course, he decided to become an educator in the very branch which gave him so much.
Six years ago, my life took a new path when a branch of the HaNoar HaOved youth movement opened in my village of Sheikh Danun…
But if I’m being honest, I didn’t think that I was doing something too meaningful by attending activities there, I didn’t even start going to the branch with the intention to join the youth movement. So you’re probably asking yourselves- how did it all begin?
At the first activity, I didn't really know what HaNoar HaOved was.
I was kind of nervous about meeting new people from a youth movement I knew nothing about. Despite my anxieties, even after the first activity it’s safe to say that I knew I’d found my place. I know that it sounds kitschy, but it’s true! The first time that you come to a place where everyone is warm and welcoming even though they don’t know you, everyone accepts you, listens to you- I felt like I had already known them for a long time!
From activity to activity, I noticed how much I was starting to really get into it, how much I didn’t want to miss a single meeting, how much I was learning about workers’ rights for youth, about society and about myself. As time went on, I began getting more involved in my community, to the point that I started going to a youth center in my village that I previously hadn’t even noticed that it existed! I also started going to local youth events and started to really feel a part of the youth movement. I started going to protests and demonstrations about causes that had always been important to me but that I had never done anything about them.
The youth movement became like a second home.
Our educators and branch directors were always ready with a hug and to give all the love in the world, to be close to us and understand when we are having a hard time, to lend an ear, to be people we could trust with our eyes closed. We also faced obstacles, but with our counselors, everything felt easier because they just became an important, supportive part of our lives.
My friends from HaNoar HaOved became some of my best friends and we know how to be together through thick and thin and to deal with difficulties the best way we know how. Together we have lots of fun experiences and we keep working to make the world around us a better place and to change reality because we’ve learned that together we can do anything.