YES Programs



Celebrating GYSD with Orphaned Children

Group of alumni and children in red t-shirts

YES alumni in the West Bank recently organized an event for orphaned children at the SOS Children’s Village in Bethlehem. The SOS Children’s Village is a non-governmental organization dedicated to supporting children without parental care. In April, 68 children were relocated from the Gaza SOS Children’s Village to the Bethlehem location, and alumni organized an event to offer these children renewed hope and a fresh start.

Alumni and children playing soccer

During the event, 17 alumni gathered early in the morning to meet the 150 children from Gaza and the West Bank at the SOS village. The alumni first received an orientation from the village’s psychiatrist who explained how to interact with these children. Following the orientation, the alumni split into four groups to run activities for the children. The first group hid over 200 chocolate eggs for an exciting egg-hunt activity where the alumni dressed up in costumes and explained the significance of Easter traditions.

While the egg-hunt preparations were underway, the other three groups of alumni engaged the children in various fun activities. One group entertained the children with face painting and drawing, another group played a game of soccer, the children's favorite sport, and the remaining group played with jumping ropes and explored the village's small amusement park.

As the day ended, the alumni joined the children in the village's dining halls and their new homes, sharing a meal together. The alumni provided over 500 small pastries of pizza and Safeha, beef on bread, along with a generous serving of Tabouleh salad and french fries for everyone.

Ahmed Rayyan ‘19 expressed, "Sharing a meal with the children in their new homes wasn't just about food, it made them feel like they belonged, and gave them a sense of home and family."

Ahmed Rayyan (YES 2018-2019, West Bank, placed by AFS-USA in Lyons, CO)