Once again, Lajee Center’s “Children’s Summer Camp” was a great success. The annual event hosted by Lajee with the unwavering support from the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is a fantastic opportunity for children to form new relationships, learn and most of all have fun during the hot summer months when they’re out of school.

150 kids aged 6 - 16 participated in this years camp which began on the 25th of July and ran until the 6th of August, the children come from Daysha, Aida and Azza camps along with other areas in Bethlehem, as well as Doha town and Beit Jala. At the start of the camp the children were divided into 5 groups and their time was equally shared so they would all have the chance to participate in the camp’s sports, music and arts & crafts activities.

Along with recreational activities the children engaged in a workshop where they were taught about the Right of Return and had the chance to research their family’s original villages, the purpose of this is to educate the children of their rights and current circumstances as well as giving them an understanding of their roots. After this the children were involved in a march at the Church of Nativity to support political prisoners, encouraging them from a young age to be politically aware and active as the unfortunate reality is that the political situation affects every aspect of their lives. This means that by understanding the Palestinian struggle from an early age will help them deal with the situation as individuals but also will give them the tools to help their community in the coming years.

During the camp the children went on four field trips, they spent a day in Murad resort in Beit Suhur enjoying the cool swimming pool and another full day in Ramallah at an amusement park where they were able to enjoy many of the park’s rides. The camp also took the children to Mari Douty garden in Bethlehem and organised various games for the children to play in the wide open space. These activities are important for the children as most of them wouldn’t have the mans to enjoy them outside of the camp due to financial and travel constrictions, children all across the world have the right to smile, laugh and play with friends which is why Lajee works tirelessly each year to make this camp possible. The 10 youth volunteers from the Lajee, although exhausted, feel unbelievably glad that they were able to bring joy into these children lives and are looking forward to next year. Without these amazing youth the Children’s Summer Camp would not be possible.

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