Ulfat Haider has been active in the area of Jntercultural relations since she was quite young. She grew up in a family that stressed values of equality among peoples and of course intergender equality.
From an early age, Ulfat has been a keen player of volleyball up to the professional standard. Her first challenge was to find the balance between studies and competitive sport, but soon realized she had to face a more difficult problem with the Arab community accepting the fact of her being a female professional player, requiring a large amount of liberal behavior. Girls returning home late at night from practice, sleeping away from home and trips overseas to participate in Volleyball tournaments, was not common behavior in the Arab community. Ulfat’s parents were most supportive, but she found that she had to cope with another problem. When she was selected to join the Volleyball team representing Israel Ulfat was faced with the problem as an Arab being accepted by the Israeli Jewish players
Ulfat soon realized that she would become involved in projects that enabled Arabs and Jews to become aware of each other’s culture and way of life.
In 2003, Ulfat Haider participated in the “Against the wind” project of bicycle riding from north to south of Israel organized by the Israel Nature Society, and as the only Arab women in the project became an attraction for the film made of this project. She was invited to become a member of a party that in 2004 went tracking in Antarctica. After spending days and nights together the party reached the peak of a mountain which they named “Mount of Israeli-Palestinian Friendship”. On this trip Ulfat came to the understanding that relations between these cultures could be achieved through a love of nature, and this realization became the basis of her activities.
In 2005, Ulfat joined an organization that deals with intercultural conflicts in the USA., active in the Apache Mountains in North Carolina. She soon realized that she had become active in conflicts that were not her own, and returned to Israel to mobilize Arab and Jewish youth to join her in tracks overseas, the programs including 15 days in the field, climbing, rafting and other challenging activities. Ulfat spent four wonderful years with these trips, but could not refuse a proposal by a Swiss organization to run such programs in the Swiss Alps, including climbing Mt. Blanc. Ulfat continued her studies towards a degree at Haifa University and led groups of students on such tracks during the semester vacations. She later led groups of Arab and Jewish women on tracks in the Himalayan Mountains. When they returned home, most of these young women became active in their communities, bringing their parents on visits to the homes of these students, contacts that have continued.
- דורון הראל עם אולפת חיידר
Ulfat is now employed as a youth worker at the Beit Hagefen intercultural center in Haifa, as well as running programs under the auspices of the Israel Ministry of Education in high schools.
Ulfat Heider is one of the six women in six continents involved in activities to find methods of purifying drinking water. The group participated in a program named “From Hope to Action”, and began by working on the Ganges River, covering over 2.000 kilometers during two months. The group led by women from the USA and Norway, plan such programs for other continents
אם מתאים לקרוא על עוד אישה מתוך המדור – סיפורה של אישה פעילה חברתית – קראו על ורד איל סלדינגר.