Many initiatives, one goal: #Act4Change

A lasting impact, and a beacon of hope towards a brighter future

On Friday, June 3rd, the final meeting of the Act4Change project was held at the Arab Orthodox College. This was the culmination of a year-long project headed by the Social Development Association, during which students worked with mentors on a specific initiative that’s important to them. This meeting provided them the stage to present their initiatives to participating students, teachers, and guests from all over Haifa, and reflect on their diverse experiences. This year, five schools participated in the Act4Change project: Arab Orthodox College, St. John the Evangelist School, Hewar School, Carma School (A), and Ort Al-Carmel School. Each class was given 7 minutes to present their initiative to the audience. They also discussed the reasons for choosing their topic, difficulties they faced, how they conducted their project, and their goals in completing each of their respective initiatives.
#Act4Change in a short video

Act4Change#

Our main objective in launching these initiatives was to provide Haifa students (in the primary and preparatory academic stages) with knowledge and life skills through a modern and creative approach. Our goal is for this project to inspire students to go out into the world and create meaningful change. This all starts with critical thinking, active participation, and innovation skills brought to life in the classroom. This project equips the next generation of Haifa youth with the ability to express themselves and have their voices heard, ensuring they can become influential and effective members of society.

An atmosphere of optimism and hope

This final meeting was much more than a simple relaying of information. Joy radiated from the smiles of students as they confidently expressed their thoughts and ideas, proud to present a year’s worth of hard work to their peers. The creativity and positivity of each impressive presentation created an atmosphere of optimism and hope in the room — hope for the youth of Haifa and society at large. The students excelled in conveying their initiatives through a variety of mediums, including slideshow presentations, videos, images, and posters. It was evident in the quality of the presentations that students conducted their projects with a high level of diligence and professionalism. This is a testament to them and their schools, teachers, and guidance of the SDC.

Diverse and distinct initiatives

Many student initiatives were presented at the meeting. They included:
  • “Clean up your beaches, create happiness” raising awareness about the consequences of pollution and the importance of caring for our environment (St. John the Evangelist School Grade 7A)
  • “The bride of the sea (Haifa) is dying” raising awareness about the consequences of pollution — specifically the pollution of Haifa’s beaches, and highlighting the need to preserve them as best as possible (St. John the Evangelist School, Grade 7B)
  • “A healthy lifestyle” discussing the harm caused by fast foods and expressing the importance of paying attention to one’s health (Ort Al-Carmel School, Grade 9A)
  • “Specialize: Electricity and Mechanics” emphasizing the importance of specializing in industrial and science-based subjects (Ort Al-Carmel School, Grade 9B)
  • “Stand up to bullying” spreading a clear message against bullying, an issue prevalent in all areas of society (Carma School, Grade 8A)
  • “Trust between parents and children” discussing the dangers of various electronic applications and the importance of being open with one’s parents (Carma School, Grade 8B)
  • “Dialogue about the environment” raising awareness about the consequences of pollution and how it impacts our lives, as well as how to improve the current environmental situation and change our lifestyles to have a more positive effect on it (Hewar School, Grade 7)
  • “About the Nakba” discussing the importance of passing down the story of Palestine to future generations, with the aim of affirming the Palestinian narrative and emphasizing our existence and roots in our homeland (Hewar School, Grade 8)
The meeting concluded with four 9th grade classes from the Orthodox College presenting their initiatives:
  • “Combating domestic violence” discussing the need to speak up about domestic violence, and highlighting the dangerous long-term repercussions of it continuing (Grade 9A)
  • “We reduce pollution, we clean the environment” shedding light on the importance of preserving the environment and the issues arising with increasing pollution (Grade 9B)
  • “Ethnic racism and its impact on society” highlighting the need to be proud of our Arab identity, language, culture (Grade 9C)
  • “Electronic bullying” discussing the negative consequences of bullying and how to eradicate it from society (Grade 9D)

Thanks and appreciation to the Social Development Committee

Coordinator of Social Education at the Arab Orthodox College, Raghida Malshi, spoke on the event, saying “We are participating in this project (Act4Change) for the second year in a row, after the project had great success last year, despite the pandemic. We were pleased to cooperate again with the Social Development Association and their wonderful, professional, and mentoring members. We appreciate their support and the projects they’ve undertaken to benefit the Haifa Arab community, as well as for creating a sense of community and social awareness in our students.”

We must take an active role in achieving change

On the importance of participating in the project, Malshi stated that “It was important to participate and make this project successful for the purpose of change. The Arab Orthodox College had the honor of hosting the final meeting, ensuring a suitable environment for the presentations and initiatives of all students who worked hard throughout the academic year. With their effort, this meeting was well-received by all the students, as they felt confidence and an indescribable joy in reaping the fruits of what they sowed during the long work process.” One participating student from Carma School’s 8th grade class, Baraa’ Namly, reflected on her group’s initiative on bullying. She described how her group had noticed an increase in bullying and realized that their project could be a step in changing that. Rayan Kasar, a 7th grade student from St. John the Evangelist School, discussed his role of designing his group’s logo. He translated the group’s message of protecting the environment into a visual image, with an earth that is half clean and half polluted, and the message “The sea’s bride (Haifa) is dying.” Siba Ayoub, a 7th grade student from St. John the Evangelist School, mentioned how the workshops throughout the project gave her a chance to express herself, work with others, and create new ideas. She summarized her thoughts on the initiative, saying that if “we start learning from a young age how to create positive change, I believe that in the future we will be able to create much more positive change, we will have louder voices, and more people will care about what we have to say.” By directly addressing the societal and global issues that face them through Act4Change, students were able to take an important step in becoming changemakers themselves. At the end of the meeting, SDC staff distributed flowers to participating students, as well as certificates of appreciation to the school administrations and staff participating in the project.

The impact is clear

It is evident that these initiatives have enriched and influenced the students — increasing their awareness, knowledge, and culture, motivating them to exchange ideas and opinions, and inspiring them to engage and influence their community from a young age.
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