Schools: Challenges of Middle East Dialogue
27 / 11 / 23
17 / 11 / 17
Hey everyone, my name’s Bar and I interned at 3FF during the spring months of 2016.
Like a lot of graduates out there, I left university in 2015 not knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Studying International Relations left me dreaming of a life filled with political turmoil, important decisions, and high-flying diplomacy (doesn’t sound so great, now that I come to think of it…). Needless to say, things didn’t quite turn out that way and I found myself in a soulless profession with little meaning or purpose; that’s when I came across 3FF.
The more I read about the organisation and its ethos, the more I knew that I wanted to get involved. Applying and being fortunate enough to be accepted, provided me with the opportunity to be a part of the Schools Team. As well as the professional development I experienced during my time – ranging from public speaking at school sessions to organising intern events and dealing with a variety of stakeholders in the schools system (teachers, students, co-workers, etc.) – the most profound learning I took from my time was re-evaluating my relationship with religion and the journey I wanted to go forth in, with regards to my career.
Coming from an Israeli-Moroccan Jewish home allowed me to grow up with a rich abundance of cultural influences. Our Moroccan rituals and Jewish traditions provided me with a strong sense of family and community, but my experience of religion was always superficial. I found it hard to separate the religion itself and the communal identity that it provided. Being with 3FF forced me (subconsciously) to delve deeper into my perspective of my faith. It allowed me to realise that my ‘observance’, or lack thereof, did not diminish from my sense of ‘Jewishness’. It was for me to define my relationship with religion.
The moment that stood out most to me in respect to this learning, was during our initial training. When learning more about the Schools Programmes, I was dumbfounded by the simplicity and sheer profoundness of asking everyone to speak from their own experience; we are all experts on ourselves and should not be expected to speak on behalf of a whole faith-system or communal identity. That is something I saw first-hand in the Schools Programme when people spoke of their own lived experience with identity and is something that will stay with me forever. It is something I try to apply in my day-to-day life and also in my professional role today.
As my three months with 3FF came to an end, I was faced with the prospect of going back to a profession that I neither enjoyed nor felt a sense of purpose in. Something that I felt was abundantly clear during my time at 3FF was a desire to make a positive impact. As such, I knew that I couldn’t go back to my previous job and instead decided to explore this desire to make a tangible change in the world.
That desire is what eventually led me to my current role at the MTV Staying Alive Foundation. Here, we use the power of entertainment to generate a positive impact on the behaviour and attitudes of young people across the world, with respect to matters relating to HIV, contraception, sexual and reproductive health, LGBTQ issues, gender based violence and women empowerment. So, I was able to use the passion generated by 3FF to lead me to my current job.
I used to think that the only way to provoke meaningful change was at the higher echelons of the political stage. Being with 3FF showed me that in actuality, this is not necessarily true and charities, NGOs and concerned organisations have a powerful voice when it comes to influencing and changing our world for the better.
Nowadays, I spend my professional time writing for our website, researching the social issues taking place in the countries in which we operate and producing digital content for our various platforms (we have just completed a 360 mass-media campaign in South Africa, consisting of a drama series, radio programme, digital media and peer-education training and are producing a similar campaign in Nigeria).
My time at 3FF came at an important time in my personal and professional development. It allowed me to delve deeply into personal identity and helped me to define the kind of work that I wanted to pursue in the future.