The Aida Youth Center & The Walled Off Hotel Celebrate Successful Summer Camp for 150 Palestinian Refugee Children.
The Aida Youth Center (AYC), in conjunction with The Walled Off Hotel, hosted a 10-days long summer camp in June, 2018 for 150 Palestinian children ages 6-14 in the Aida Refugee Camp in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.
With the sponsorship of The Walled Off Hotel, the AYC was able to host a summer camp involving activities that included art, culture, media, sports, theatre, and music, as well as two field trips outside of the camp to the Ein al-Hawiya spring and the Palestinian Museum of Natural History.
For 10 days, the children participated in the camp for four-and-a-half hours each day at a local school in Aida Camp.
Some of the activities included:
- Training with the Palestinian Civil Defense on fire safety
- Drum team training
- Lessons on nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation with local Football, basketball, different games
- Drawing, painting, upcycling/recycling plastic waste into plant holders
- Theatre plays about daily life in the camp written by the children
- History about Palestinian refugee issues, human rights, and Palestinian history
- Media training on how to take pictures and videos as a method of nonviolent defense against the Israeli occupation
- Music lessons: Guitar, Oud, Tabla, learning music scales
During the camp, children were also provided with transportation, t-shirts, and daily food.
By offering the children a free summer camp, AYC and The Walled Off Hotel were able to offer the children a break from their daily lives in the camp, which according to a recent study, is the most tear-gassed place in the world.
Aida Camp is home to some 6,500 Palestinian refugees, around one-third of them children under the age of 18. There are currently 80 Palestinians from Aida being held as political prisoners in Israeli jails. Among them, are 30 children from the camp.
The AYC was established in 1968 with the purpose of offering the community, specifically children, a safe place to come together and hold events and activities. Since its founding, the AYC has supported education of children in the camp,a youth football team, a drums & scouts team, and a music therapy program.