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Our Beginnings

The East Jerusalem YMCA is a vibrant and integral part of the Palestinian social movement and a leader among Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations. As a member of the World Alliance of YMCAs, the EJ-YMCA is committed to a unique vision of community, based on the universal values of human dignity, peace, and justice.

Established in 1949 in a tent in Aqabat Jaber Refugee Camp near Jericho, with a team of five passionate young men who decided to attend to the very pressing immediate needs of the uprooted thousands of Palestinians as a result of the 1948 war.  

Today, as a Christian ecumenical association that offers equal opportunities to all, the East Jerusalem YMCA operates a variety of diversified programs and activities that are consistent with its vision of Holistic Youth Development and related directly to the needs of Palestinian society.

One of the main programs run by the EJ-YMCA is the Rehabilitation Program based in the Shepherds field in Beit Sahour. Started also by a group of young volunteers in 1989 to provide quality rehabilitative services for the youth who were injured due to political violence during the first Intifida. The goal was to re-integrate the youth into society so to be capable of continuing their life in the best possible way.

And as the program grew,  it started targeting the marginalized Palestinian groups of persons with disability as well as the injured and traumatized survivors of political violence in order to live an equal, just, decent and productive life; a life that is far from discrimination, neglect, isolation, fear, and exclusion.  This was achieved by means of specialized and professional teams that cover the entire West Bank and East Jerusalem in coordination and partnership with the different sectors of the Palestinian community in the purpose of creating an accepting and supporting environment that enables them to practice their rights as citizens in a free democratic country characterized by social justice and indiscrimination.

So far, the Program has embraced tens of thousands of Palestinians and succeeded in making a difference to live a “better life” through the dedication of its staff, and the support of its partners and friends.