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Date posted: December 02, 2014
By MIFTAH

Ramallah – Mohammed Abdallah Abu Ras is a man in the prime of his youth. From the village of Sawiyeh in the Nablus district, Abu Ras has a BA in political science and an MA in political planning and development from Al Najah University. He established and now heads the “Youth Center for Development and Creativity”, his own personal stepping stone towards the future. His journey has been a road paved with perseverance and hard work and MIFTAH was one of the main pit stops along the way. He became involved in MIFTAH’s Palestinian political and social youth network and remains an active member in the network today, just like many Palestinian youths who have been part of this experience on their own journeys of success.

MIFTAH, the first of many beginnings

Abu Ras’ first encounter with MIFTAH was when he was still a university student. His friend, Kareem Abu Kharroub, was already a member of the Youth Network and introduced him to MIFTAH. “I volunteered with many other organizations in the past, but what I found in MIFTAH was something completely different,” Abu Ras says, citing the organization’s focus on follow-up, sustainability and ongoing contact. “The training I received at MIFTAH made me think in a completely different way.”

Abu Ras gives credit to MIFTAH’s “Kumi” approach for this new way of thinking, which it employs in many of its youth trainings. He says Kumi had a major impact on him in various facets of his life. “I wrote a research paper on the Iraqi crisis based on this methodology,” says Abu Ras. “Even my university professors were surprised at this new method I employed.” Abu Ras says he adopted this same approach throughout his Master’s degree. “Then I started to think of setting up my own project, something I love. So I established the Youth Center for Development and Creativity in March, 2014. “ He explains that one section of the center is focused on public opinions and training research, while another focuses on women and youth issues.

Self-reliant

Until now, the center is completely self-reliant , says Abu Ras, explaining that they largely depend on a pool of volunteers from the center itself. One project the center is hoping to achieve once it secures funding is setting up “fun rooms” in government hospitals. They received approval from all the relevant parties and officials but need the money to put the idea into action.

Despite the setback, Abu Ras is determined to push on. “We started thinking of an alternative, a training program we call ‘A smile of hope’.” Abu Ras explains that the center organized several activities that targeted various sectors of society, including psychological release training, which he conducted himself with the help of volunteers.

Cooperation and partnership

Abu Ras is hoping to establish some sort of cooperation and partnership with MIFTAH, saying he still benefits from the organization’s trainings, especially in the field of fighting corruption. He also trains others in this field, which he believes will help develop his center and push it towards more self-reliance.

Abu Ras says he feels indebted to MIFTAH for the moral support it has given him, granting the organization an honorary plaque in appreciation of its efforts and the changes it helped make within him. “The biggest impact MIFTAH left on me is self-confidence. It gave me that push towards achieving my dreams and reaching decision -making positions. My goal is to become an economy or local government minister one day. It is a dream I will not give up on.”

As to why he chose these two positions in particular, Abu Ras says it is an age thing. He says all the previous local government and economy ministers were middle age and therefore were not successful in achieving the aspired goals. “But with a younger man like myself, who is motivated and ready to work, we can reach these goals and youths will finally be able to actively participate in the decision-making process.”

In a final tribute to MIFTAH, Mohammed Abu Ras says: “I will never forget what MIFTAH did for me. It was my first real step on the road to success.”

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