10 July 2012
Nablus, West Bank
Over the past month, UNRWA has turned the refugee camps in the northern West Bank into summer camps for young women. “Sabaya for Change” (young women for change) brought together dozens of women between the ages of 18 and 25 over five days for an event that was both a social gathering and a skills training.
“Most summer camps target children, but they rarely target young women like us”, said Kholoud Al-Hindi, 24. She participated when Sabaya for Change arrived at Camp No. 1 near Nablus. “I met and talked with other young refugee women living in other camps, which is a unique opportunity for me.”
Part retreat, part skills workshop
In addition to bringing together refugee women to share their experiences, the summer camp doubled as a skills training workshop, teaching the women about team-building, leadership, and communication, while also covering everyday issues such as healthy, active living.
The camp took the women on field trips to community organisations operating in the refugee camps of Balata, Askar, and No. 1, meeting with the camp representatives and discussing the needs of young women living there. One of the issues highlighted by the participants was the need for women to have recreational and entertainment venues where they live.
Training the volunteers of tomorrow
Sabaya for Change is an initiative of the Agency’s women’s programmes centres in the West Bank, aiming to both reach out to women in refugee camps and to train them to become active participants in their communities. With the summer camps promoting the values of community service, it is hoped that the participants – all of whom are university students – will use the skills they learned to give back to their communities as volunteers.