In February and March, We Are Not Numbers (WANN) published 13 stories, held four activities, and delivered five training sessions.
February 8, 2023 | Asma Azme Amra | Families received no warning that water was being released flooding homes and agricultural lands.
February 8, 2023 | Salsabeel M.A. AbuLoghod | Brave girls have taken up a traditionally male sport and hope to someday represent Palestine in international tournaments.
February 11, 2023 | Sara Nabil Hegy | I spent my early childhood in Abu Dhabi, but it was only when I returned to my parent’s birthplace that I felt at home.
February 12, 2023 | Asma Azme Amra | The blockade and other reasons prevented many Gazan fans from travelling to Qatar for football’s premier event.
February 15, 2023 | Lubna Abdelwahab Abuhashem | Why does Israel ban mothers from travelling with their sick children who need medical treatment outside Gaza?
February 21, 2023 | Eman Ashraf Alhaj Ali | An Israeli bombardment thwarted our hopes for a larger family.
February 23, 2023 | Nour Nizar Abu Sultan | I jumped at the first job offer after graduation but it was less than what I wanted.
March 14, 2023 | Khalid Mohammed Al-haj Ahmed | Happy years spent in the United Kingdom are a stark contrast to the hard circumstances back home in Gaza.
March 21, 2023 | Lubna Abdelwahab Abuhashem | “Some doubted that my business would succeed. But the customers keep growing and keep coming back.”
March 21, 2023 | Shahd Safi | “Diyaa’s name means light in Arabic. Indeed, he was the light of my life.”
March 22, 2023 | Shahd Safi | “After two hours, the heavy bulldozer reached the house. The civil defense pulled out the dead bodies.”
March 26, 2023 | Nada Hazem Al Kahlout | “Muhammad’s life was very normal before he contracted the Guillain- Barre virus.”
March 29, 2023 | Farah Zaid AlKilani | “Palestinians, both in diaspora and in their own land, remain deprived of having a stable, safe home.”
Gaza Portal program
In partnership with Shared Studios and UN Live, WANN participated in the Gaza Portal program, which aims for cultural exchange between Palestinian and Western societies. WANNers participated via video link with young people from various locations across the globe including Japan, South America, and India, and Japan. In the February/March time period, two Gaza Portal events were held. WANNers met with writers from three different locations, and participants addressed three different topics: Palestinian life and culture, storytelling techniques, and the environmental impact of the siege.
WANN selects writers for Cohort 2023
Applications to join WANN for the 2023 cohort in 2023 was completed by 190 talented and passionate writers from Gaza, West Bank, and the Diaspora. Staff conducted interviews and winnowed the field down to 90 people accepted into the first phase and a final selection of 25 participants for the new cohort.
WANN launched the 17th cohort with an induction ceremony. Twenty-five Palestinian young men and women living in the Gaza, Jordan, Turkey, and the United States joined the new cohort for 2023. Read a full report of the induction day.
WANN writer Karam Jad, who resides in Gaza, shared with Jerusalem24 podcast listeners the Ramadan atmosphere in Gaza: What does food represent, and what are our habits during this month?
He also discussed how the difficult economic conditions during Ramadan have a negative impact on the people in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Listen to the full interview.
Training sessions were conducted for all 38 WANNers in the current cohort, who reside in the occupied Palestinian territory, Lebanon, Jordan, the United States, and Turkey. Participants attended either in person or online.
Two sessions with Dr. Refaat Al-Areer
At the first session for Cohort 2023, Dr. Refaat Al-Areertaught the new WANNers how to generate ideas for personal narratives. He also presented examples of well-written stories.
In a subsequent session on Dr. Al-Areer addressed various writing challenges: figuring out where to start the story, how to craft the introduction, and the importance of accuracy. He again made use of stories as examples to clarify the most important points that the writers should focus on.
Proper spelling and punctuation with Dr. Saad M. Saad
Dr. Saad M. Saad gave WANNers a session about proper spelling and punctuation. During the session, he displayed sentences with grammatical mistakes for WANNers to find, as a means of teaching them the importance of punctuation.
Two training sessions with Jen Marlow
Jen Marlow, an award-winning author, filmmaker, playwright, and human rights activist, conducted activities to explain the “show don’t tell” technique in writing features.
A second session with Jen was focused on the topic of perspective and point of view.
Participant feedback indicates that as a result of these trainings, they expect to make good progress in their future writing.
Who wrote this?
This activities report was prepared by Lubna Abdelwahab Abuhashem, a WANN writer. She is a Gaza-based journalist, translator, subtitler, and voice talent. Her articles have appeared in the Palestine Chronicle and WANN.
Ramadan Mubarak from Gaza to friends around the world.