The Welfare Association and Palestinian Vision, through funding from Bank of Palestine, concluded the activities of Nahj “School Entrepreneurial Project.” The closing ceremony was held in the city of Jerusalem, whereby participants from six different schools in Jerusalem presented 12 unique entrepreneurial initiatives in the presence of donors, representative from Bank of Palestine and governmental and non-governmental organizations. The presentations of students attracted the attention of the audience who were encouraged to adopt these entrepreneurial ideas to implement them and ensure their sustainability in the future.
During the ceremony, Professor Rami Rassas, the representative of the Directorate of Education in Jerusalem, delivered the speech on behalf of the Ministry of Education. He stated that “through the assistance of organizations, the Directorate seeks to refine the personalities of students through the implementation of practical projects and assist them to advance in their professional life.” Another speech was delivered by Mr. Wa’ad Qannam, Board member in the Palestinian Vision Organization and Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Union of Jerusalemites students, where he thanked all the students who participated in the Nahj project: “Allow me to first and foremost thank the students who participated in this project. To thank them for their ideas, their creativities, and their efforts.” The Nahj project, he added “has to be an approach that we adopt in our innovations, in our life, and in our work. I hope to see the Nahj project implemented in Jerusalem every year.
From his side, Mr. Rushdi Ghalayini, the Deputy Director of Bank of Palestine, ensured the bank’s belief in its duty to promote the concept of social responsibility for which it contributes 6% of its annual profits (equivalent to $3 million) in support education, health, sports, culture and arts in all governorates across Palestine. He added that Jerusalem has a special standing and is of great interest to Bank of Palestine, and sponsoring the Nahj project is part of the bank’s efforts to contribute to organizations in Jerusalem as a simple expression of national duty towards the city and in support of its resistance.
Ghalayini stressed the importance of the Nahj project in fostering the concept of entrepreneurship among Jerusalem students enrolled in the primary stages of education, in an attempt to promote the concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship. According to Ghalayini, “all these efforts encouraged us to spread awareness among students about the reality of the professional sector and the economy, by experimenting the establishment and implementation of a project and witnessing its success.” He added that through the Nahj project, a number of outstanding student projects emerged that stimulate what they can achieve in the future. He pointed out that Bank of Palestine seeks to develop such projects to continue to improve its vision and encourage students to practice entrepreneurship. He expressed his confidence that Nahj will assist in alleviating the social stress under which students live, and the bank’s belief in the fact that integrating entrepreneurship in the official educational curriculum will generate further innovation among future generations.
Mr. Ala' Tarshan, the Vocational Counselling Programme Manager at the Welfare Association, stated that “the Nahj project receives great attention from the Welfare Association because it integrates the concept of entrepreneurship in the official educational curriculum.” He added that “the Welfare Association is providing support for educational programs and projects that focus on higher-order thinking skills, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, innovation, promoting intellectual development, developing social, educational and spiritual aspects among students, and supporting the educational system in order to promote knowledge and entrepreneurship skills among children and youth.”
The entrepreneurial initiatives were presented during the ceremony, and some of them included the following: the “3D T-Shirts” initiative that is based on the concept of 3-D printing on clothing and selling them to youth at affordable prices; a project entitled “Happy Baking” that involves producing sweets without the use of preservatives; the “Bus Time” initiative that provides an electronic application for smartphones to determine bus locations and times in Jerusalem; the “Erase without Waste” initiative, which is a vertical eraser placed on the side of the classroom board, and is operated by a special device that erases the board automatically; the “Pets House” initiative that is based on the idea of producing and selling products for pets; and “the Smart Gardener” that automatically waters plants in pots that are particularly found at homes and in schools.
During the second half of the ceremony, the initiatives included: “the Smart Basket” that encourages students to throw the garbage in the basket and provide them incentive by thanking them; the “Living Furniture” initiative that is based on gathering broken tools and equipment that were used around the house and recycling them and putting them to good use; the “Bahja for Weddings and Occasions” initiative that provides unique and creative joyful decorations for parties and birthdays; “Your Health is Our Concern” initiative that sells healthy food for school students in cafeterias and food points of sale; the “Idea” initiative is an electronic application for smartphones, which assists kindergarten children and children with autism to express themselves through an number of pictures and words, in addition to voices recorded as part of the application; and the “Rentals” initiative that was developed to invest in financial resources, electronic and non-electric tools and equipment and offering them online for rental instead of for sale.
Nahj sought to establish entrepreneurial projects as an alternative work choice for organizations and companies, and from there, the philosophy of the project kicked off, demonstrating a clear and open option that allows individuals to achieve their goals and create their own paths. Nahj also aimed to develop the reality of entrepreneurship among school students and promote their entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and targets, and to instil the concept of entrepreneurship in the minds of generations enrolled in the foundational stages of education. The project targeted 150 students from six governmental and private schools: Dar Al Tifel Al Arabi, Ali Bin Abi Taleb School for Boys, Al Ibrahimieh College, Frères Secondary School, Al Nithamiyeh Secondary School for Girls, and Al Nahda School. Work was conducted directly with these schools in the Old City of Jerusalem, Sur Baher, Beit Hanina, Al Suwana and Sheikh Jarrah. A total of 15 educational teachers, employees and administrative persons working in these schools were also targeted and trained to become administrative and technical support committees and be able to provide assistance in designing, developing and managing entrepreneurial projects, as well as monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, in order to ensure the sustainability of the project during the next stages.