Balanda has reached an average of 7,000 youth per year. In the twenty years since Baladna was established, we have equipped tens of thousands of youth with the tools, knowledge, and skills needed to create positive change in their communities. Hundreds of those who have participated in our programs are now leading efforts to build a better future for themselves and their communities as journalists, artists, academics, representatives of civil society organizations, activists, and even as members of Baladna’s team.
As an integral component of our work, Baladna links Arab Palestinian youth in Israel with the broader Palestinian community. Over the course of 2018 to 2020, we have connected more than 3,000 youth from the Arab Palestinian society in Israel, the West Bank, and Jerusalem, forging strategic partnerships across boundaries and combatting stereotypes and fragmentation.
At Baladna, we see ourselves as part of a transnational movement to combat injustice, foster principles of democracy, equality, and human rights, and promote civic engagement among youth. Accordingly, we participate in international solidarity networks in which we exchange ideas with activists and organizations working in related fields, forge partnerships, learn from others, and share our experiences with people from around the world. Through these networks, we have enabled tens of Arab Palestinian youth to participate in international events, trainings, and cultural exchanges in other countries and regions.
Baladna has pioneered a variety of initiatives and campaigns. We were the first organization to conduct research aimed at identifying the needs of Arab Palestinian youth in Israel and are the primary address for journalists, civil society organizations, local authorities, and academics seeking information on Arab Palestinian youth. We also serve as a resource for educators and local youth organizations by producing a wide range of theoretical and practical tools to support the education and empowerment of Arab Palestinian youth. These have taken shape through the development of board games, social media campaigns, educational videos, and manuals aimed at promoting dialogue on Palestinian identity and history, enhancing communication skills, combatting sectarianism, and promoting volunteering among youth.
As an organization that operates at the national level and seeks to center the needs and voices of youth in the public agenda, we are also at the forefront of national civic campaigns to promote Palestinian rights and community development. In 2014, for example, we launched a nation-wide campaign to promote volunteering among Palestinian youth, mobilizing hundreds of youth and tens of civil society organizations.