Thursday, 9 May 2013

A view from Coldwell

The Palestinian students will enjoy this... very different from Palestine.... hope it doesn't rain....

Student project getting nearer...

Last night we met four of the students who will be coming on the June project - Aftab from Nelson, Frances from Bradford, Nabeela from Halifax and Umar from Burnley - and they're really looking forward to it. (They just have to get their end-of-year uni stuff sorted first...)

Everything's shaping up very well for the project which starts on 9 June when the 12 students from Palestine fly into Manchester and meet up with the 12 students from the UK at Coldwell. That's where they'll all be staying for four days before they go to London for the next seven days.

Preparing for the student visit from Palestine

Pendle-Beit Leed is going to be working with CADFA on an exciting student visit from Palestine. The project summary is below and the visit will be in June! Two young women from Beit Leed, Saja and Asala will be among the group. There will be many visits to places and organisations in Pendle during the first part of the visit... watch this space!

The project summary: 'Ma'an: students together' organised by CADFA, funded by Youth in Action

(logo from a previous student visit)

Twelve students from Al Quds and An Najah Universities in Palestine together with two leaders will spend twelve days with twelve students from universities in Britain during June 2013. They will compare their experiences and their lives as students and design material together to make a website that will strengthen on-going twinning links between their student unions and seek to extend this work to other universities.

Before the exchange, the students in each country will use the book of photos made during our last students' exchange ‘Look at our Lives’ as a stimulus to discussion about student twinning links and what they want to do in the project. They will prepare for the exchange by taking photographs and videos and preparing short presentations on their lives and concerns.  This will become material to show the other group during the visit.

The first three days of the visit will be a residential in Lancashire when the students from each country will present their lives to the other group. Together they will meet people from a local twinning group (Pendle) and a different university (Manchester) which will help them decide on themes and content for a student twinning website which they will prepare during the following week. 

The group will travel to London where the British students will show the Palestinians their life in the city and they will work in small groups to make material for the website. They will have workshops in which they can create animated film based on the experiences of the week and designs for the website. The evenings will have a variety of activities with university students from across London.  

The participants will show their work in a public event at SOAS to which a European representative will be invited. The day will include an evaluation of the website, a discussion on ways this can be used to strengthen student twinning links, planning for dissemination of the work and for future work together. Following the visit, the website will be publicised to student groups in both countries and CADFA and student unions will continue to work to develop the student twinning links.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Glimpses of Beit Leed

On Monday evening we (Zeynab and Charlotte) arrived to Beit Leed. We were greeted by Sameeh and Wasfiya and were welcomed into their beautiful family home.

The following day, after having breakfast (which was a feast!) we were taken around Beit Leed village. The walk was lovely, we passed various fruit trees that line the road and admired the view across the valley. The village, despite its slow pace, has lots of character with it's old stone buildings and pretty doorways which are often occupied by women sitting and chatting.

The view across the valley
Breakfast outside with the neighbours

Old stone buildings
We arrived at the Women's Society building and went inside the cool stone buildings to escape the heat. Here we found a small museum area showing centuries-old artefacts for use in the home and working the land, examples of traditional Palestinian clothing and a huge olive mill originally dating back to the Roman era and last used in 1932. Next we moved on to a small craft shop, showcasing the handiwork of local women, and then we headed up to the roof to take in spectacular views of Beit Leed and the surrounding lands.

Olive mill
Products made by the women at the society included soap, tapestry's and jewellery.  

After another feast at lunch, we went on a leisurely afternoon walk into the mountains to see our hosts' land. Fields of sage, beans and almond trees made for a beautiful backdrop for a sit down with the other women.

Our time here has been delightful and we hope that the links and friendships between Beit Leed and Pendle continue to grow and flourish.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Few words about Beit Leed...

Beit Leed (Arabic: بيت ليد) is a Palestinian town in the Tulkam Governorate in the northeastern West Bank located a few kilometers southwest of Tulkarm and west of Nablus . According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistices, the town had a population of 4,994 inhabitants in 2007. In 1922, its residents amounted to 653, and then rose to 1,807 in 1961.
On the map 163.185 and rises from sea level 435m and descended the hill of Beit Leed severe decline towards the south, where there is soil brown and brown soil red on the south side of the hill while descended gradually declining in the two northern and northwestern where spreading soil white and extends the Mount in the North West and Mount Ras al-Shami in the north side of town and the surface of the earth in the same Beit Leed covered with brown soil.
Town consists of houses are built with stone and cement, especially older buildings that are not separated in the center of town only alleys with a round shape or a semi-circular therefore planned town circular radial cross the narrow streets branching along the roads branching from Beit Leed, particularly in the Bank on both sides of the by Saffarin where almost all buildings of Beit Leed and Saffarin coalesce with each other area of ​​the town has increased as a result of this urban growth of "22 acres" in 1945 to more than "150 acres" in 1980.

Letter from the mayor and from the municipality of Beit Leed

This letter is from the Mayor and municipality members of Beit Leed to the Mayor of Pendle.

English letter :

Dear Mr. Mayor and the distinguished members of the municipality.

We are so grateful and honored to have this twining between your town and our village.
Myself and the municipality members would like to extend and develop this twinning relationship between our municipality and yours for a closer relation, communication and cooperation.
We hope that we will find more ways in which we will keep in touch.
With sincere thanks and appreciation,
Mayor of Beit Lid.
Abdallah Atallah.
Arabic letter :
هذه الرسالة من رئيس واعضاء بلدية بيت ليد لرئيس البلدية حضرتكم:
حضرة السيد رئيس واعضاء بلدية حضرتكم المحترمين
تحية طيبة وبعد
نتقدم نحن رئيس واعضاء بلدية بيت ليد في فلسطين بطلب بناء علاقة توأمة بين بلديتنا وبلديتكم من اجل توثيق علاقات الاتصال والتواصل والتعاون بيننا وبينكم املين منكم الموافقة على طلبنا
مع خالص الشكر والتقدير
رئيس بلدية بيت ليد

Pendle's mayor

In the evening, we were invited to the Council where we had a great opportunity to meet the Mayor and to talk about the twinning. We had the letter translated into English. In this letter the Mayor of Beit Leed thanked the municipality here and requested to extend the relations and the communication between the two towns. Noor read the letter in Arabic and Richard read it in English.
After that the Twining was approved. Noor was also asked to present a talk during which she explained the projects that she has been doing.Some of these projects are about Palestinian life and Beit Leed in particular. 
Sabrina explained about the up coming students' visit in June and explained more about CADFA work in London.


Today we've been in an exploratory tour for the students' visit accommodation. We went to a nice place called Coldwell. We really enjoyed the place and we got discount and good offers.
Coldwell Activity Centre is a residential facility in the heart of the Lancashire landscape in a remarkably beautiful setting overlooking the reservoir.
The organizers were very nice, we had the chance to talk and we put some suggestions and ideas for making the stay more interresting.
Coldwell has twelve bedrooms, three of which are en-suite, sleeping up to 27 people. Because of the size of the groups who will stay they will have exclusive use of all the residential facilities, and receive a bespoke, personal service.
The building itself has been converted from an 18th century inn, retaining many original features and set in its own grounds with woodland walks and plenty of wildlife.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Few words about Pendle...

We visited a beautiful town called Pendle. Pendle is located in the East of Lancashire (see the map). Pendle is composed of the towns of Nelson, Colne, Barnoldswick and Earby. Pendle is nestled within Pennine Lancashire, Pendle offers some of England’s finest countryside, as well as beautiful villages, bustling towns and wide open spaces to explore at whatever pace takes your fancy. Visitors can also admire an amazing view from Pendle Hill.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Report second meeting in Pendle

A meeting was organised in order to start to prepare the Students visit in June. This meeting happened around a dinner. Indeed, during this meeting we exchanged and talked about different aspects of this visit. First of all, we started to talk about how to find the buddies. With regards to this point we decided to ask each peson who wanted to become a buddy to fill an application form. After, we talked about the accomodation so, people proposed different places. Then, we dealt with transport and we were wanded if it was  possible to rent a van and finally, we finished by discussing fundraising. In fact, the people in Pendle will organise different events and cake sales. We also thought it would be good if we had a budget and a target of the amount of money which we needed to finance the trip in Pendle. Each of the people in charge should ask or/and think about either the accomodation, transport or the  fundraising for the next meeting. The communication of this students' visit will be part a for the next meeting. 

First meeting in Pendle

Today, a tour was prepared by Richard to visit University of Manchester with its museum, followed by the Old Trafford, the home of the Manchester United. We ended the day with a play called  « Woody Sez ». It was about the life and music of Woody Guthrie. We saw it at the Lowry in Salford.
We went to an event organized by the twinning group in Pendle. This event was in a restaurant in Burnley. We started the speech by talking about CADFA. We also explained our voluntary work, with a power point presentation and we talked about the different visits which CADFA will be organizing (Women's visit, Students' visit...) from Palestine, so at the end people were aware of the twinning groups. And Richard informed them about the twining that will be between Pendle and Beit Leed. People asked questions and were interested to talk and exchange ideas during a warm dinner. It was really interesting.

Very lovely welcoming !!!

We were met and warmly welcomed by Richard at Manchester station and he took us around in his car and then we had a cup of tea at Yvonne's house. She was so sweet and we enjoyed it a lot.
After that we had a dinner in a fancy Italian restaurant, where we talked about the work, the importance of the twinning and we discussed about the school work that we've been doing and CADFA work specifically.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Volunteers and student visit

Pendle Beit Leed group has made a friendship link within Britain! Specifically with CADFA, a human rights charity based in Camden, with its own partner in Abu Dis, Palestine.  

This year this is likely to mean for Pendle that

* Palestinian volunteers working with CADFA will come to Pendle to help with the twinning links (watch this blog develop!)

* A student visit from Palestine now being arranged with CADFA will bring some students from Beit Leed or the An Najah University, and the group will come to Pendle in the first part of their visit.

Lots more exciting things should follow... watch this space!

Pendle - formal twinning links with Beit Leed

From  "Pendle Today"

PENDLE councillors have agreed to formal twinning links being made with the Palestinian town of Beit Leed.
Labour and Liberal Democrat members agreed to a motion backing the move at the full council meeting, but Conservative councillors argued that the Israel-Palestine issue was one the council should not involve itself in.
In a debate which lasted for more than half an hour, watched by members of the Pendle for Palestine Twinning Group in the public gallery, Coun. Mohammed Iqbal praised the actions of two young Pendle people who had increased public awareness of the situation by organising a rally in Nelson last month and congratulated Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson for his efforts to secure a peace deal between Israel and Palestine through Parliament.
As well as calling for the signing of twinning links, his motion called on the council to welcome the affording of “observer status” to Palestine by the UN and condemn Israeli government plans to build illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
Conservative Coun. Graham Waugh said it was not appropriate to waste time discussing the matter when there were local problems which needed councillors’ attention.
And the BNP’s Coun. Brian Parker said: “I am not taking sides but we could twin with a settlement in Israel. We should stay well out of this. We should avoid Palestine because of its links with terrorist groups” – a comment which provoked calls of “Fascist” from the public gallery and drew a rebuke later from council leader Coun. Joe Cooney.
Other speakers from both sides of the argument made contributions before Coun. Iqbal, in summing up, thanked all councillors “bar one” for their “helpful” contributions to the debate.
A meeting will be held in the near future to consider the twinning arrangements.
PPTG spokesman Richard MacSween thanked councillors afterwards for getting behind the proposal.
“People in Pendle will be able to show their support for a town in a country which has had a hard time of it.” he said.