Aida Youth Center is located in the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, Palestine. The youth center has been in operation since 1968 with its primary purpose being to provide a safe recreation space for the camp’s youth.
Recently due to the impact of the occupation on the education of Palestinian refugee children, the center has shifted its focus to education and has developed and implemented a number of successful programs.
With organisations like UNRWA (United Nations Relief Work’s Agency) under very real threat due to funding cuts from the US and other donors, smaller grassroots organisations, such as the Aida Youth Center, are more important than ever. There is only one UNRWA school to cater to the needs of thousands of children in the area and the Aida Youth Center has needed to step in to bridge the gap.
Currently in the UNRWA school classrooms there is a student teacher ration of 40 children to 1 teacher, the school day is halved to accommodate the needs of all children in the camp and there is a severe lack of recreational spaces and vital support such as social workers and counselors .
The Aida Youth Center is the only safe space dedicated to extra curricular activities such as arts and crafts, music, sport, scouts and the occasional excursion. It also provides social workers and counselling support for students and their families.
TODAY- due to donations being intermittent and of varying amounts, the center is under financial threat and will not be in a position to continue its vital work.
The center’s management team consists of a group of young adults who have grown up in the camp and have made a decision to stay to dedicate their skills and energy to improving the lives of the children from their community. They have a strategic plan and vision to grow the center with the view to become self sustainable with respect to funding, however the primary focus now is to save the existing education programs as a minimum.
The fundraising goal amount will assist the center to run for a year. For more information on what the center offers the children and successful programs that are currently in effect, please check out their website https://www.
As the campaign continues, we will provide updates and more in depth information on the center and some of the children benefiting from it’s role in the community.