Staff and students at Liverpool Hope University are raising money to bring 12 young people from Palestine’s West Bank to Liverpool for The Big Hope 2 Young Leaders Congress.
Students from the university have been visiting Palestine, and have stayed with young people and their families in the area to get an insight into the challenges faced by young people living there.
The Big Hope 2 Youth Congress in June 2018 will provide the opportunity for young people (18-35) from diverse backgrounds to explore and debate key issues affecting individuals and societies around the world, such as freedom, conflict, equality and change.
Workshops, seminars and keynote speeches will focus on the relationships between these issues and factors such as innovation, communication, work and business, and faith.
Dr Steven Lucas, Lecturer in Social Work at Liverpool Hope, said: “Life is very challenging for young people in the West Bank, many of whom are living in extreme poverty. We want to bring some of these young people to The Big Hope 2 to meet other young people from all over the world, share their stories and enter into dialogue. The conference will also offer opportunities to develop valuable leadership skills, which they can take back home with them.”
The crowdfunding page is now live and students and staff have been holding fundraising events. There will also be a fundraising ‘Run for Hope’ event in April 2018.
Student Laura Cooper said: “Young people in the West Bank face difficulties that are hard for many of us to even imagine. Yet when we were in Palestine, every young person that we met was open, friendly and welcoming. To be able to return this welcome and help young people from the West Bank visit our university would be an amazing opportunity, for us as much as for them.”
Student Jodie Hopkins added: “Our trip to Palestine couldn’t have been just about going there, hearing people’s stories and not doing anything about it on our return to the UK. I believe that it is important to bring young people over from Palestine to Liverpool, for The Big Hope 2, so that their voices can be heard, and are part of a broader discussion amongst young people today.”
There is a range of rewards for crowd funders, ranging from a Shout Out on the @PathofHope2018 twitter feed, to a personal letter of thanks from one of the young people themselves. People can also leave a personal message on a ‘path of hope’; stainless steel jigsaw pieces will be laser cut and can be engraved with a name, a simple message of goodwill or company logo. This will go on display during The Big Hope 2.