Courtesy of Power Group
We are always told that our future lies in the hands of our youth, hoping that they will be the change makers of the future. Indeed, today we are seeing youth groups sprouting up across Palestine that enable young people to make their voices heard in creative and impactful ways. One such collective is Power Group, an independent entrepreneurial youth group based in Bethlehem that produces and publishes audio and visual media as a tool for social change. As Power Group approaches its ten-year anniversary, we look back at its story and at the ongoing inspirational work of its members.
In 2012, the reality and prospects for Palestinian youth were bleak. Unemployment levels in the West Bank were soaring at around 40 percent, and job opportunities in the creative sector were scarce. Nabil Hamouz had a dream to change this reality. He was determined to create a platform where youth could use audio-visual productions to express themselves and their aspirations for their future and well-being.
He brought together peers and classmates from university to start a youth group and launched the first meetings in a room in his home, where eventually Power Group broadcast its first online radio program and implemented its activities. From the start, Power Group insisted on being independent, self-financing all activities to avoid falling into the traps and conditions of funding schemes and instead choosing to foster an ethos of voluntary and collaborative work. Nabil was a role model and leader who created a dynamic, creative, and enjoyable environment for the team. He was known as an eternal optimist, always motivating his peers and fostering a positive atmosphere.
Two years later, without any sign or warning, Nabil decided to end his life. Everyone was devastated by this tragedy and couldn’t comprehend what had happened. Despite the challenges brought by Nabil’s loss, the team insisted that his dream should continue, and they chose to follow in his footsteps. During the next year, Power Group members powered through and succeeded in starting anew, renting and equipping a new office space and continuing the journey. Their productions, programs, and partnerships began to grow year by year, extending their activities across Bethlehem, Hebron, and beyond.
Power Productions, one of the group’s main departments, creates audio and visual productions that range from short films to reportages, photography, TV shows, and advertisements. Its expanding work has led to the documentation of Palestinian culture and heritage, which recently included documenting the private collections of Palestinian clothing and embroidery that belong to Ms. Maha Abu Shusheh and Ms. Maha Saca.
At one time, Power Radio was the only youth-run radio station in Bethlehem. Today the youth involved focus on producing a podcast and have expanded their reach through several partnerships with radio stations across Palestine. Through this platform, youth share and discuss a variety of social and cultural issues that affect their lives.
Power Group has extended its programs to include organizing art and cultural activities as a way to further engage with the community. Last year alone, the group organized over 40 film screenings. Events are held in different locations as a way to raise awareness of Palestinian heritage sites.
Without a doubt, the members of Power Group have proven themselves to be a professional and visionary group whose ambitions and reach are limitless. We look forward to seeing what the next ten years hold for Power Group’s members and Palestine’s youth.