Success Stories
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 10:46

Walid – Ramallah District

Walid was first arrested when he was thirteen years old and then again when he was eighteen. Walid lives in the village of Nabi Saleh, which is known for excessive child arrests. Upon his release, the YMCA office in Ramallah conducted an intervention with Walid for four months. On his first arresting experience, Walid was accused of throwing stones and soldiers took him from home handcuffed and blindfolded. He was held for two days, but had no food or water and was kept on the ground the entire time while soldiers kicked, harassed and cursed him. When he was released, the guards told Walid that one day he will be imprisoned again. This kept Walid constantly afraid of going through the same traumatic experience again.

On his second arresting experience, he was taken by the Israeli forces who came at 3 a.m. throwing sound bombs, smashing the doors of the house, and demanding for the family’s IDs. Around thirty to fifty soldiers entered and surrounded Walid’s house and seized him from his bed as he was sleeping. They led him through town—blindfolded and handcuffed—hitting, cursing and teasing him. After being interrogated and tortured for a whole day, Walid was taken to prison, where his court sessions were constantly postponed and rescheduled for three months straight.

After serving a five-month imprisonment sentence, he was released. Walid could hardly speak to people and didn’t want to leave the house. His counselor helped him in building his interpersonal skills and reviving his social life. She considers her work with him successful as he now enjoys going out and meeting people. The most important aspect his counselor addressed was the shock that remained in Walid since the arresting incident. She taught him how to address his emotions comfortably. Walid’s counselor did a lot of work with him in breathing exercises, group work, and ventilation activities where he had the chance to meet other young people with similar experience. This allowed him feel secure and create a safe environment free of soldiers.

He also underwent a vocational assessment. Results showed that he was highly skilled in several fields. However, his preference was in the field of electricity. Walid hopes to work in this field and hopes that he would someday start his own business. Walid introduced many other villagers with similar traumatic experience to the Program. He expressed gratefully, “I thank the YMCA. It was through their intervention and support that I succeeded in restoring hope again. I hope they can work with a lot more child prisoners and help them.”

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