On July 5th (Thursday), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Cooperation Bureau, Non-Governmental Organizations Cooperation Division’s Director, Matahiro Yamaguchi and Representative Office of Japan to the Palestinian Authority second secretary, Hideki Kamiya, visited the KnK youth center, “House of Hope.”
Vision Association for Culture & Arts (VACA), a local KnK counterpart, located in a village called Al-Azaria (also known as Bethany) on the west bank of Palestine territories. KnK offers vocational training, informal education as well as emotional care and support. This center and these activities are supported by the Foreign Ministry of Affairs of Japan, The Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects.
During this visit, a tour of the center was given and a country representative of KnK Palestine, Satoshi Morita, gave an explanation of the various activities that are carried out at the center. They observed a computer training class, one component of the vocational trainings offered; students used computers to draw the national flags of Palestine and Japan. The head taught the class the correct size of the Japanese national flag; many Palestinian attendees did not know some subtle differences and this exchange turned out to be a heartwarming and pleasing.
Following this, in the front yard of the center, a representative of VACA expressed appreciation for this project: “This project has brought great hope to Al-Azaria.” The name, “House of Youth,” represents the local people’s feelings. The children presented a bouquet of flowers to director, Yamaguchi as well as second secretary, Kamiya. The flowers in the bouquet came from the staff garden at the center; the most beautiful flowers from the garden were specifically picked for today. Like the excitement of the children feels when foreigners come to visit, the bouquet displayed various colors, full of life. “Please enjoy!” a representative of the children said in Japanese before their performance. I wonder if it is too much to think that this would show the level for their confidence as performers?!
After this, the children performed a traditional dance Dabka, performed a traditional musical instrument called tabla, put on a fashion show of outfits handcrafted by paper, in addition, the popular Japanese “Marumori” dance was performed. The director, Yamaguchi was surprised by this performance and sang along with the performers; there was a harmonious atmosphere throughout the performance.
The director stated, to be able to see where these children grow is very important and to have a lively place where children get the opportunity to really grow is wonderful. Knowing the situation surrounding Palestine, his words have a deeper meaning. On this day under clear blue skies, about 200 mothers and children gathered and enjoyed everyone’s performances. This day and visit was featured in “Al-Quds Daily Newspaper,” a local newspaper.