Bethlehem University hosted a group of 22 girls and their teachers coming from Al Khansa High School in Yatta. The girls participated in the ‘Walk and Talk’ activity which took them around the historical center of Bethlehem, in order to discover some of the main components of ‘Start Your Business’ project, funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and implemented by VIS – Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo.

Last year, the girls were involved in the activity ‘Start Your Business Trainings’, which is designed to introduce vulnerable youth to the entrepreneurial world. This activity was also made possible by the precious contribution of EduStation, that conducted the training last year and supported the realization of this ‘Walk and Talk’.

To begin the activity, the group first visited the Salesian Vocational Training Center in Bethlehem, where the Career Service Officer welcomed the participants and took them to a brief tour of the laboratories and workshops available in the Center. Before leaving, the group had the chance to visit the Salesian Bakery, one of the social businesses incubated by Yunus Social Business Centre within ‘Start Your Business’ project, and they received a small gift.

The second visit of the group involved the Ma’an lil-Hayat Boutique Hotel under L’Arche Bethlehem, another Social Enterprise that was incubated at Yunus Social Business Centre. L’Arche Bethlehem is focusing mainly on people with cognitive disabilities aiming at their socioeconomic integration through handmade crafting of wool objects and through the involvement of its core members in the Boutique Hotel management. It was very important for the participants of the ‘Walk and Talk’ activity to get in contact with this new reality and to listen to the impact that L’Arche is having on the Bethlehem Community, economically, culturally, and particularly socially.

Finally, the girls were invited to join a small presentation conducted by the staff of the Bethlehem Business Incubator – BBI & Yunus Social Business Centre – YSBC at Bethlehem University on what is a social business and what a social business is used for. They had the chance to ask questions on the matter and exchange personal ideas and impressions. Before leaving, the participants and the staff had the chance to have lunch prepared by the Hotel Management & Tourism Institution at Bethlehem University.

We hope it was an enriching experience for the girls and their teachers, and that it will enable them in the near future to approach the world of social entrepreneurship in Palestine with interest and curiosity.