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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Al-Rowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Centre

What is Al Rowwad Center

Al-Rowwad Center is an Independent Center for artistic, cultural, and theatre training for children in Aida Camp trying to provide a "safe" and healthy environment to help children creativity and discharge of stress in the war conditions they are forced to live in

Background on Aida Camp - Bethlehem

Aida Refugee Camp accommodates about 4,000 people (around 650 families) who took refuge to it in 1948 and later in 1967 from 35 different villages in Palestine as the result of the two Arab-Israeli wars. This camp, like the other 21 camps in west bank and the 8 camps in Gaza strip, as well as the other camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, was established with tents as an emergency and temporary camp, but have been transformed to a permanent stage of refuge. Since the problem of these refugees was not resolved, United Nations began, in 1951, the construction of small houses made of one or two rooms, and a small kitchen (rooms of 9-12 m2, and ~2 to 2,5 meters high). However after years and years of waiting, the refugees could not live in these temporary shelters created by the UN. Most of the shelters started to fall down. People, mostly poor and not able to buy a piece of land outside the camp, started reconstruction inside the camp of new houses. They became refugees on their own land, in their own country. Since the space is very limited in the camp, and no possibilities of horizontal expansion, the construction expanded vertically. That's why the camp lacks children corners and playgrounds where children could eventually play. After 53 years of living in this refugee camp, as well as for other refugees in other camps, people know that this is a station in their life; they are still dreaming and asking for the application of the UN resolutions concerning the right of return to their own lands occupied and taken by Israeli state in 1948 and 1967. Till now, the community international plays the blind role concerning the Palestinian refugees.

Around 40% of its population is children under the age of 18, with equal distribution between males and females. The camp has two schools run by UNRWA, one for boys and another for girls (till the end of preparatory classes- age 15). There is also a youth center and a kindergarten run by the local community. The camp is located at the northern border of Bethlehem. Its main entrance is closed by cubes of cement, placed by the Israeli Army at Rachel's Tomb (originally a mosque - Mosque of Bilal Ibn Rabah- and converted into a synagogue in 1967), which composes a military observation point next to the camp. The Gilo settlement, build mostly on the lands of the Palestinian town of Beit Jala, which is bordering the camp from the north and north west as well as the Rachel's tomb observation point at the eastern side, both constitute a serious threat to the people of the camp through frequent harassments, shooting and shelling. 


New Website for Al Rowwad

Video: we are the children of the camp


Virtual Activism

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