Heba was born in Gaza and studies English Literature at the Islamic University of Gaza. She is the co-founder of the first debate club in the Gaza Strip that has since become a Debate, Dialogue and Discussion (DDD) club. After taking an intensive course on DDD in the US, Heba developed a plan to include sustained dialogue sessions in the debate club as a tool to teach people how to express themselves freely and create a positive environment. A survivor of three wars, Heba believes that creativity and debate are vital tools in rebuilding a community, and that valuable lessons can be learned from the experience of living under military occupation.

 

Me and my friend, Basel, started the first debate club in the Gaza Strip three years ago. In the world of occupation in which I live, my people and I have always suffered from disempowerment as both individuals and a nation, not to mention the lack of basic human rights. This has led to people being less understanding of each other and more concerned with their individual, rather than their collective, survival. I believe that debate helps to promote freedom of expression, mutual understanding and active citizenship, things that got buried during the years of conflict.

 

Heba Debate club

 

We debate so many different issues in our debate club, and there’s a really great focus on women's right and youth participation in decision making. On International Women’s Day, we’re running a debate about how to encourage more women to get into STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). It’s going to be a very strong and empowering one. 

 

Debate is a very strong form of empowering and supporting communities which are in desperate need of building a better environment for new generations to find ways to exert their freedom of expression. I fully support each woman who contributes to the work we are doing or who wants to set up her own initiative, whether it be DDD or anything else. Helping yourself and your society to frame the most pressing issues in such informative and strong ways is the best thing you can do.

 

Heba Debate club

 

It's true that we might not have the bricks needed to rebuild our countries, but we do have the tools required to rebuild those people that have been left to fight another day.

 

To find out more about our debate club and to support their crowdfunding campaign visit: https://www.gofundme.com/DebateLeaders

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