Hoshen is een project in Israël, dat bijdraagt aan de emancipatie en het zelfvertrouwen van homo’s, lesbiënnes en transgenders in met name de Arabische gemeenschap.
Hoshen – The Arab Community Project
Hand in hand with Hoshen’s vision of promoting a change in perception and visibility of the LGBT community in Israel through education, we believe that one of the most viable means of creating such change is through inclusivity of minority populations in Israel, to reflect the diversity of its society. Also, any discourse on tolerance and inclusivity regarding LGBT communities must also lend itself towards pluralism as a whole. To this end, we focused much effort on the Arab community in Israel. Although far from minority status in terms of demographics, the Arab community is underrepresented in many of the country’s legal and institutional entities. This stems from cultural as well as political origins – obstacles we sought to overcome in our goal of reaching out to Arab LGBT individuals and communities.
These insights were the grounds for our Arab Community Project. The goal of this project was to expand our activities to include the Arab community all over Israel, in some cases introducing Hoshen’s very existence. We chose to concentrate on two major areas: the educational system and existing LGBT institutions.
In order to get to know our target community, we participated in seminars and workshops to enrich our knowledge of customs and cultural nuances. We met with education professionals and counselors from the Arab community, to create a network of cooperation. This included meeting students as well as teachers and professionals.
Hoshen’s ongoing collaboration with the Ministry of Education’s Professional Counseling Service assisted us in reaching out to counselors specifically working in our target community. With their help, we outlined the challenges we would be addressing that were specific to the Arab population, and created materials in Arabic to make LGBT terminology more accessible.
We also collaborated with ASWAT, a Palestinian lesbian feminist organization that is active in the Arab educational system. Hoshen and ASWAT held an educational panel at Haifa University, with additional workshops planned for the foreseeable future. With ASWAT’s help, we translated our curriculum into Arabic to make LGBT materials accessible to schoolteachers for the first time in history. Another first time achievement was the inclusion of an Arab volunteer into our training program.
Our achievements in 2013 are a significant step towards our vision of promoting change through awareness, expanding the discourse and coping with the challenges and diversities faced by the Israeli LGBT community. We believe that our collaborations with members of the Arab educational system, its institutions and its youth have already created ambassadors of change whose activity will bear fruit in the very near future. In 2014 we plan on continuing these initiatives and expanding them, by recruiting additional volunteers from the Arab community, further improvement of educational materials in Arabic, collaborations with additional institutions, and execution of educational initiatives such as workshops and seminars.