“We tell the children about the Palestinian issue while focusing on our specific issue, the one of refugees. Some of the children don’t know anything about the village they come from, so we decided to compare with the cartoon Tom & Jerry. Both of them fight each other, but the same one is always winning: Jerry.”
Lajee Cultural Center has just wrapped its 15th two-week annual summer camps held in Aida refugee camp. The two camps offer learning, working and fun activities for both Bethlehemite children aged 6-15 years, and volunteers from all over the globe.
Lajee’s programs aim at responding to the particular needs of the community and improving the skills and abilities of its members, while defending Palestinian rights. Amongst the activities offered all over the year by the units of the centre, such as the media, environment, music and water units, the two summer camps, implemented in 2001, are one of the most awaited projects.
Children’s Summer Camp: Developing skills while having fun
The children’s summer camp is held every year for two weeks, was designated to enable children to improve their skills in the fields of art, photography, traditional dancing (Dabka), environment while attending entertaining activities.
Among the activities lead this year by the employees and volunteers of Lajee Centre, were two activities at the swimming pool were organised, as well as a hiking-trip in the Al Makhrour area.
Among 160 children, Mahmoud, a 14-year-old boy coming every day at the centre for the summer programme, and who attended the programme for 6 years in a row.
“Everyone feels comfortable here, more than in our home, because it’s the only time during the year that we see all of our friends. During the rest of the year, it’s more difficult because of the situation here.” Mahmoud says. “These days are the best days”, during which “children are coming not only from Aida, but also from Doha and Beit Jala, and everyone communicates with each other.”
“In a situation where soldiers throw stones and tear gas, how can we deal with the situation? Staying in the house, closing the door, the windows?” said Amani Asad, the main coordinator of the children’s summer camp. “We organise these activities because of the situation, we need to see the smile on the face of the children” she further added. “We also tell the children about the Palestinian issue, while focusing on our specific issue, the one of refugees. Some of the children don’t know anything about the village they come from, so we tell them about it” Amani explained. Regarding the challenge of explaining the situation of the Occupation to the youngest participants, she told “we decided to compare with the cartoon Tom & Jerry. Both of them fight each other, but the same one is always winning: Jerry.”