UNRWA summer camps are bringing smiles to Palestine refugee children in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Themed ‘Aim High for the Sky’, the camps target over 1,200 children, including children living Area C, which is the area of the West Bank under full Israeli control, and children living in the ‘Seam Zone’, which is the area between the 1949 Armistice Line (Green Line) and the West Bank Barrier. The summer camp activities help these children enjoy the summertime despite the restrictions imposed by the Barrier.
Al-Nabi Samuel village near Jerusalem is a prime example of where the Barrier isolates residents from both Jerusalem and West Bank cities. Here, the summer camp fun relieves the children’s isolation. “To see happy children is the most beautiful sight in the world. It is a great moment for us when we put smiles on children’s faces,” one UNRWA psychosocial supervisor said.
A range of indoor and outdoor recreational activities at the summer camps provide psychosocial support to children traumatized by the ongoing confiscation of Palestinian land, increased construction of Israeli settlements, home demolitions and forced evictions. To help alleviate pressures faced by communities at risk of forced displacement, the summer activities focus on protective and psychosocial support, as well as self-advocacy and self-worth.
The children engage in music, theater, folklore and puppet shows, where they are able to exercise their right to play and grow their emotional and behavioral skills. “I’m very happy to be involved in UNRWA summer camps because we have space to learn, play and have fun,” said 13-year-old Aysha.
UNRWA summer camps in the West Bank have been made possible by generous support from the French Government. Visiting an UNRWA camp in al-Nabi Samuel village, French General Consulate in Jerusalem attaché Suzanne De Bellesicze said, “I am happy that the French Consulate helps in achieving this project and the children are happy to learn new things and have fun.”