Lajee Center in Aida Refugee Camp has completed the second Yasser Arafat Summer camp, which kicked off on the 10th of July and went on for two weeks. The camp included 100 children aged 6 - 14 years, from Aida camp and surrounding towns, including Doha, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour.
The camp was held in partnership with the Yasser Arafat Foundation and aimed at spreading the cultural heritage of Palestine and the life and journey of late President Yasser Arafat (Abu Ammar) through different cultural activities including awareness lectures, education, contests and games.
The children were divided into four age groups based on their interests. They took part in different activities including arts, sports along with health and environment education.
The art activities included handicrafts, painting, theatre and drama, as well as storytelling classes. Children also took music classes, including playing instruments, singing and Dabka traditional dance.
A group of children from the music and dance group held a performance at the Elder's Club in Beit Sahour, where they played music and danced traditional Dabka along with it.
At the club, an old man who had played the Oud for 50 years played music along with the children. The elders could feel the spirit of joy that the children brought to their hearts.
The camp also organised sports activities such as football games, swimming, hiking trips, in addition to cultural trips, including one to the Yasser Arafat Museum.
As for the health and environment education, the children volunteered in environmental health activities in the camp. They also received a lecture about ways to measure diabetes and hypertension by the Community Health Workers at Lajee Center.
After that, the children were able to measure diabetes and hypertension for the other children in the summer camp. The children also took classes in wood recycling and environmental sustainability.
Nagham As'ad, 13, said, “we learned many things, first aid, hypertension and diabetes, recycling, and we volunteered to clean the streets of the camp, control weeds and unwanted plants.”
Naghm added that the camp helped and encouraged her to learn more about children’s rights, which are constantly violated by the Israeli occupation.
In addition, she said that this camp enabled her to learn more about healthcare which she was passionate about. “In the future, I want to become a paramedic or Artificial limbs specialist, and my message for the camp is to keep going and to always encourage children to do what they love and the right things.”
Abdullah Bara'a, 12 years old, said “we had fun and met new people. I loved the activities and classes. Each day was better than the other and I enjoyed every second of it.”
In addition, Sara Ghabash, 9 years old, said that she learned more about Palestine, including the Palestinian Nakba, Naksa, and the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat.
“I really liked the football and gymnastics activities, but my favorites were the singing and Dabka classes. I want to be in the next summer camp as well.”
It was heartening to know that the children thoroughly enjoyed the camp and look forward to the next one. The camp ended on a high with a graduation ceremony, which included an exhibition of the children's artworks produced during the camp, as well as a musical and theatre show, and a dabka performance.