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HomeOur WorkComputer Clubhouses

Helping close the digital divide in Palestinian refugee camps



By establishing a network of Computer Clubhouses in the heart of the West Bank's refugee camps, this initiative aims to create engaging community-based learning environments through which youngsters [living in Palestinian refugee camps] can interact with university mentors to develop competencies and essential life skills primarily through the use of ICT.

Birzeit Univeristy selected Al-Jalazone refugee camp to house the first computer clubhouse of the project.  At Al-Jalazone refugee camp - which is situated at 7 km north of the city of Ramallah and suffers from overcrowding due to its high population density - the computer clubhouse program emphasizes creativity with information technology and provides fulfilling learning experiences to the youngsters living there.  Passionate University student volunteers [tutors] are the driving force of the computer clubhouse program and the face-to-face mentoring that they offer is a critical factor that sustains its success.  The result, is a new form of an engaging learning community - in which in-camp youngsters and university student mentors work together on projects and ideas to create their own digital artwork, animations, computer games, interactive story-telling, websites, and robotic prototypes.

 

Cultivating a new attitude for learning

"We are leveraging the power of information technology tools to transform the Jalazone clubhouse members into creative learners," says George Yerousis - an engineer at Birzeit University who is helping build and mobilize the camp-university network component of the computer clubhouse - "... by constantly keeping the clubhouse members actively engaged in designing and inventing new things based on their own interests and talents and with the help of their 16 committed university student mentors who are listed here."

 

The learning model in the Jalazone computer clubhouse is based on the latest educational research that shows that youngsters learn most effectively when they are actively engaged in designing and developing projects rather than memorizing facts and figures or learning random skills.

 

Participants practice computational thinking

With the direct supervision of Birzeit University and the University of Siegen, the computer clubhouse at Jalzone is open daily for the camp community and is regularily visited by at least 40 male and female in-camp children.  Google's App Inventor and MIT's Scratch are just 2 of the software that in-camp participants use in order to have fun with information technology.

Meet the project team

Prof. Dr. Volker Wulf

volker wulf

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Kai Schubert, Ph.D

Kai

 

Konstantin Aal

Konstantin Aal

Majoring in computer science he works as a researcher at the University of Siegen and has worked in computer clubs in Germany for 4 years now. Konstantin helped establish the clubs in Palestine.

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George Yerousis

George

Training manager at the IT Center of Excellence at Birzeit University.  George is currently coordinating program activities with all relavant partners.  George is also resonsible for mobilizing the volunteers team.
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Esma Ben

esma

Graduated from Siegen University majoring Telecommunications and languages. she said, "I did not know anything  about the clubs in German, but  later on I discovered that it adds value to the children, especially the Palestinian children who have the qualities of a great ambition.

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Fatima Al-zahraa Darwesh

 

A third year student at Birzeit university majoring Nutrition and Dietetics. She said " I joined the voluntary work to form an experience with children of refugee camps" She believes that this experience will benefit her in her subject.

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Sara Abu Hijleh

A third year student at Birzeit university majoring Computer Science. She likes Drawing. She prefers to work in this voluntary work because it's close to her subject. It's a simple programming program comparing it with her subject. 

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Ali Abu Hijleh

 

A at Birzeit university majoring Electrical Engineering and loves to work with technology in its all fields. Ali says that he joined the team so as to do community work and give back to his community.

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Majd Al Skafy

 

A third year student at BirZeit university majoring in Computer Science. Majd joined the team because she wants to do something useful to her community in addition to her desire to work with children.  

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Iman Abu Sharife

Graduated from BirZeit university majoring in Media. She became a mentor because of the clubhouse is close to her residence in Jalazone refugee camp. Iman loves working with children, especially in-camp because of the hardship that they are living.

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Hanan Rimawi

hanan rimawi

Graduated from Birzeit University in General Management. Hanan loves to do voluntary work especially the one that deals with children as this develops her talents and increases my experience. Hanan likes to discuss the impact of the political situation in Palestine and its relationship with technology.

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Ameena Allan

ameenaA BirZeit University student majoring in Law.  Even though Ameena's major is not related to computers, she loves mentoring children and she feels that this work can open up new opportunities for her.

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Yasmeen Hashem

Yasmeen Hashem She graduated from BirZeit University of Specialization Computer Engineering. She said: "The reason I joined the project is the desire to end the community work hours, but have quickly adapted and interacted with trainers and students."

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Adham Swedan

adham

A third year student at BirZeit University majoring in Computer Science. Adham says "I like working with children in the clubhouse sessions in Al-Amari refugee camp in helping them design and create fun computer games."  

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Sujood Al Haj

sujood

 A BirZeit University majoring in Architecture. Sujood joined the team to get away from the pressures of the university classroom.  Sujood also wanted to discover new learning experiences as she mentors in-camp children.

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Bissan Maher

bissan maher

A third-year student at BirZeit university from Ramallah  majoring Computer System  Engineering.

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Haya Hashem

haya hashemA student at BirZeit University majoring in Accounting. Haya mentors children in the Jalazone computer clubhouse as does her sister Yasmeen.  Haya's brother is a member of the clubhouse.

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The Alumni Team

Sabreen Shahwan

A fourth year student at BirZeit university majoring Geography and Political Science With diploma in Education. She likes reading and eager to learn new things about computer. She said" I like to learn about scratch to create my own games, and to teach my family how to use it."

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Saja Kharosha

A third year student at BirZeit university majoring Computer System Engineering. She likes to join this voluntary work to see how much children interested in using technology and also she would like to see the reaction of children when they learn how to create funny games by using scratch. 

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Wala Zaid Alnabali

A second year student at BirZeit university majoring Law. She joined the voluntary work to help the children in camps and to get more experience that would help her in future. She said" I enjoy seeing the refugee children learn how to create funny game by using scratch." 

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Evana Wael

BirZeit University student, majoring Geographical and Political Science. She emphasizes the significant role of technology and its impact in changing the stereotypical images of many people on the subject of geography, which is considered by many theoretical specialty.

Mahasen Rimawi

A third-year student at BirZeit University majoring Public Administration. She likes dealing with children, especially refugee children.

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Islam Quraini

A fifth-year student at BirZeit University majoring computer systems engineering. Islam emphasized in his speech that everyone prefers always to publish his specialization among all segments of society. He completed his speech saying that he likes voluntary work in all fields and has a special interest in dealing with children. He added that he gave his experience of the program i.e. Scratch to his family. He talked during the meeting about the German experience and how they created the idea of the project and talked about the strengths and weaknesses of the German experience.

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Hadeel Devanay

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A third-year student at BirZeit University majoring Law, she says that her experience in using computer is not very good. therefor, she takes this voluntary work to improve her skills in the Computer. She would like also to benefit from German experience.

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Abla Abu Nabaa

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Developer of the scratch training materials utilized in the computer clubs. A strong advocate of learning through investigation and hands-on activities. She is a freelancer who works with professionals on maximizing the internet benefits in professional development and life long learning. 

Izzat Mahmoud

izzat

 

Computer Clubhouses program sponsors

  FFO      un-siegen

The computer clubhouse project [in Palestinian refugee camps] is implemented in cooperation with the Institute of Information Systems at the University of Siegen and is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Computer Clubhouses Media Coverage

Read the media coverage [Arabic]
Read on Birzeit University's website [Arabic]
Read on University of Siegen website [English]
Download the press release [Arabic]

Become a mentor at a clubhouse

Volunteering provides you with an opportunity to advance your professional development and learn new skill sets.  If you feel that you like to give your time to assist in our program, drop us an email enclosing your bio and areas of interest at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Clubhouses brochure

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Google App Inventor

google app inventor
App Inventor lets you design and build applications for Android phones using a web browser and a connected phone.

Get the manual

MIT Scratch

scratchCat
Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art and share the creations on the web.

Get the manual

Clubhouse Image Gallery

Project in CSCL2013

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Mission

To advance innovation and creativity in future IT generations in Palestine.

Vision

To cultivate a nurturing environment within the center that promotes the productive flow of critical thinking, creative ideas, and innovation in IT and its various applications.

How We Work

We facilitate the effective use of information and communication technologies for meaningful purposes in underserved Palestinian communities.

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