Madaa Creative Center – Silwan concluded the activities of the largest summer series of events “Enjoy the summer… Have fun…and Learn”, which was held at the Center's branches in the town.
The supervisor of summer events Majd Gaith said: “the events included several activities, including: The longest camp in the city of Jerusalem “I Love You Silwan 12”, open days for popular and sport games in the branches of the center “Wadi Hilweh, Ein Al Loza, and Batn Al Hawa”, a cinema day and a day of competitions “Tele Match”, in addition to many educational tours and recreational trips.
“I Love You Silwan 12”
Madaa Creative Center - Silwan as every year, organized the summer camp “I Love You Silwan” for the 12th consecutive year. The director of the camp Nasser Abbasi said: “The camp was marked this year as the largest and longest camp in the city of Jerusalem where it included the age groups of “5-17” and was divided into several weeks, each week included the participation of a certain age group, and each week was divided into several different stations during which the child moved to”.
Abbasi added: “the camp included many artistic, recreational and motor activities as well as handicrafts, music, and library events plus water activities. In addition to motor and competitive entertainment events “Tele Match” that were held in a park that belongs to Madaa Center in the town. There were also Health Day activities, which included several corners including the corner of examinations and the corner of Healthy Foods where the children prepared healthy breakfast themselves and measured their height and weight. Camp leaders distributed tooth brushes to the participating children after giving them general advice on how to maintain healthy teeth. During the day, children watched educational and instructional cartoon films to hone children's culture in terms of interest in public health. There were also identity and cultural workshops and workshops for psychological and social guidance in addition to other activities aimed to strengthen and enhance the child's self-confidence. The camp was an opportunity to discover the hidden talents of children; the camp was free of charge in light of the difficult conditions in which the people of Silwan go through”.
Each week for each age group was concluded with a recreational trip to the city of Jericho with the participation of parents, counselors and their assistants, as well as the women's group at Madaa Center.
For the second consecutive year, Madaa set up “I Love You Silwan” camp in the center's branch in Batn Al Hawa in order to reach the largest number of beneficiaries. Coordinator of Batn Al Hawa - Silwan branch, Nemati Sanad, said: “the activities of the camp at Batn Al Hawa varied; it added life to the neighborhood. Among the activities offered: sport competitions, handicraft stations, weaving wool, scouting, water game activities, a tour to Rababah Valley in Silwan, clown activities, scientific days, and wall painting as well as other activities.”
During the summer events of “Enjoy the summer… Have fun…and Learn”, Madaa organized a range of visits to the village of Sataf and the displaced village of Soba; each time a certain age group participated, and they learned about the history of the villages by walking through paths and tracks that were accompanied by a tour guide.
In addition to a tour to Ein Silwan, Tala Sarhan from Madaa Center said: “A tour guide explained to the children about Ein Silwan. The children started asking questions. The tour included a group breakfast and swimming in Ein Silwan. The goal of the tour was to introduce children to Ein Silwan as it is an important landmark of the town. Ein Silwan is considered to be an ancient, cultural and historical place, dating back to five thousand years, and it is one of the oldest places recorded in the Islamic Waqf and that was in the reign of Caliph Uthman ibn Affan may Allah be pleased with him.”
The Cultural Department at Madaa Creative Center - Silwan organized a children's tour of the Holy Aqsa Mosque as part of the Quran recitation course; children who are part of the course participated in the tour.
The recitation teacher at Madaa Center, Enam Siam said: “The children participated in a group breakfast in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque at the beginning of the tour, then they performed Dhuhr prayer (noon prayer) together in the Qibli mosque, and after that they visited the Islamic Museum, Al-Buraq Mosque and Al-Marwani Mosque.”
Siam added: “We are used to occasionally organizing such visits to the Holy Aqsa Mosque in order to open the opportunity for students to spend enjoyable times out of the routine of lessons and to emphasize that the mosque is Islamic and to show the importance of it in our religion and beliefs, for it is the first direction of prayer for Muslims and the start point of the nocturnal journey of our Prophet peace be upon him. This activity comes within the program of recitation lessons, which began in the center two years ago to teach children to recite the Quran correctly according to the provisions of Tajweed.
In addition, a tour to Wadi Al Qilt and the Spanish Garden in the city of Jericho, with the participation of children and their parents. The deputy director of Madaa, Sahar Abbasi, said: “We took the children and their parents to a track in Wadi Al Qilt to get acquainted with the monuments in it; they were accompanied by a tour guide who introduced them to the place. They walked for long hours, which gave them space to think and unload and get rid of psychological pressure, especially that most of them were former prisoners. We concluded the tour by going to the Spanish Garden, to entertain children. We organized joint activities between children and their parents to break the barriers between them.”
There was also a tour for the youth to Wadi al-Qatlab and the village of Deir al-Sheikh in Jerusalem, where they learned about the reality of the destroyed villages and the nature of life in these villages before people were exiled. The young adults were accompanied by the tourist guide, Khalil Sabri, who told them about the village that was occupied in the year 1948. The youngsters visited the Mosque of Sultan Badr, which is the most important landmarks of the village where there is a large shrine for the Sultan and a big tomb for his family.
Members of Madaa Dabkeh group visited the old city of Nablus where they visited Al Bader Factory for soap where the factory manager explained how to make soap and talked about the materials used in manufacturing it and buying soap from the factory. During the tour they visited Ben Brik mill that helps carry on the heritage of ancestors. The most popular features that distinguish this place are a popular room adorned with traditional artifacts made of Palestinian craftsmanship, and the Clock Tower, which is an Ottoman-era archaeological tower in Nablus.
In addition, camping for a group of children in the lower Galilee with the project “Big Brother” took place. Hanadi Al Abbasi, the coordinator of Madaa that accompanied them to the camping said: “The children received a number of workshops such as workshops on child protection, handicraft workshops, drama and life skills, as well as water games and they created a Palestinian wedding.”
The visit of Arab Idol winner “Yacoub Shaheen”
The Palestinian artist and “Arab Idol” winner, Yacoub Shaheen visited Madaa Creative Center - Silwan as a United Nations Children's Fund Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.
The staff of Madaa Center organized a tour in Silwan for the Palestinian artist Shaheen and the UNICEF delegation accompanying him, during the tour they learned about the living conditions of its residents in general and the living conditions of its children in specific.
The director of Madaa Creative Center, Jawad Siam, said: “We appreciate the visit of the artist Yacoub Shaheen to the town of Silwan, where children are subjected to systematic political and cultural violence. We also appreciate his visit to Madaa Center, which provides a wide space for the child and protects his/her childhood from the violations s/he is subjected to. A global institution such as the UNICEF Foundation gave us high confidence in this visit. It gives a good picture of Palestine, and it also mentions the issue of the Palestinian child in its celebrations and international visits. The visit was an opportunity for Shaheen to get to know the children of Silwan and the circumstances that they are exposed to.”
As part of the summer camp activities of “Enjoy the summer… Have fun…and Learn” Madaa organized a series of open days in its three branches “Wadi Hilweh, Ein Al Loza, and Batn Al Hawa” as a day for popular games, an open sports day, a cinema day, a day of contests, and a Tele Match day.
Haneen Abbasi from the media department at Madaa said: “We opened the summer events with an open sports day, in which tens of children participated, the day included a variety of games, including: jumping in the loop game, catching the ball, the game of cards and roads, sack races, and a hot air balloon game. The aim of these games was to break barriers between children and to strengthen the spirit of cooperation and teamwork among them.”
Abbasi added: “The sports day was followed by a day of popular Palestinian games at Madaa Center Club, attended by about 70 children, the day included many popular games including: Tug-of-war, throwing hoops, a Palestinian version of “duck duck goose” called ‘Taq Taqiyeh’, high and low, and many challenging competitions among the children. The aim of the day was to remind the children of the old Palestinian games and to chant the popular songs that are part of these games.”
Madaa Creative Center - Silwan organized a day for Cinema, the day included a screening of several movies including a film about fear; the aim of it was to help children face their fears towards anything, the children also watched a film about earthquakes, where they learned how to act in the event of an earthquake, in addition to other films. The staff also organized a series of educational competitions, and symbolic prizes were distributed to participating children.
In cooperation with the Palestinian Center for Counseling, the Social and Psychological Department at Madaa Creative Center organized an open day for youth. The open day was divided into several stations; each station had a specific goal; for instance, the Palestinian identity station was placed to reinforce the information of young people, so a collection of pictures of Palestinian cultural and political figures, and Palestinian cities and villages were displayed. Another station was a clay corner which aims for thinking, and a sports station and Tele Match which focused on motor activity, and an accessory station in which they handmade key chains and accessories, as well as a rap station, and finally a music station where they unloaded by playing musical instruments expressing the way they feel.”
In addition, an open day for women, the day included many corners, some of these corners were: a corner where women watched a movie and had a discussion about it, another corner to learn and identify rights, as well as a corner for handmade crafts. The open day was concluded at the Hakawati station, which was a corner that ran a series of influential stories that motivate women to cope with difficult circumstances, and teach them that the impossible does not exist.
Madaa Creative Library – Silwan organized an open library day. Madaa’s library secretary, Talah Sarhan, said: “Madaa Library recently organized an open day for children and their mothers. The aim of the open day is to introduce the community to the library, to make use of the existing books, to integrate children with their families through various library activities, and finally to encourage children to read. The open day included several segments; firstly, introducing the library and the books that are in it, secondly, having Dabkeh performances, another segment was rap performances and a segment in which mothers read stories to their children. A mural was drawn by the children and their mothers, with slogans encouraging reading.”
Summer Football Activities
Within the framework of the summer activities there were regular practice sessions at the Academy of football, which takes place at the grass playground of Silwan School with the participation of tens of players from the neighborhoods of the town of Silwan, especially the ones born between the years 2002 and 2010.
The training is supervised by the sports supervisor Nihad Siam and the technical director of the academy, Nasser Abassi and the coach Nitham Abu Ramooz. The Academy has played many friendly games and participated in tournaments with the goal of mingling and gaining experience. The Academy teams achieved different victories, the most prominent of which were the Jerusalem, Mount of Olives and Issawiya teams as well as different football academies such as the Crescent of Jerusalem, the supporters of Jerusalem, Beit Hanina and the Palestinian for talented players and others.
During the summer, work continued as usual with the women's professional programs such as sewing, embroidery, accessories and also handicrafts. The deputy director of Madaa, Sahar Abbasi said: “Women's courses continued in addition to yoga and relaxation exercises, as well as various workshops under the framework of mental and social health and legal awareness and individual sessions for those who request it. The women participated in the summer camp, where their presence was of great importance whether through their work to prepare meals or even their active participation in some events and support of the Center’s staff and their participation in different field trips.
Celebrations and performances
Madaa Dabkeh Folklore Group participated in the opening of “Bab Al-Amoud” exhibition in Nablus, where they presented a Dabkeh show dancing to Palestinian folk songs.
Among the summer events of “Enjoy the summer… Have fun…and Learn” Madaa organized a celebration for Eid Al Fitr. The celebration followed a series of Ramadan events that took place daily in the month of Ramadan held by Madaa Center in its three branches. A ceremony was organized to showcase the achievements of the children who were trained in the different courses offered by the Center from Dabke, Rap, Aikido and more. The celebration was attended by parents of children who came to support their children and to see their achievements at the center.
Finally, Madaa organized a celebration in which the summer activities of “Enjoy the summer… Have fun…and Learn” were held at Madaa Park in the town of Silwan. The ceremony included a tribute to the students who succeeded high school, in addition to performances of Dabke, Scouts, Rap, and musical and theater performances in the presence of a number of partners and supporters. Deputy Director Sahar Al Abbasi gave a speech about Madaa Center in which she thanked all those who contributed to the success of the summer activities. The guest of honor also paid tribute to the work of the Center, such as the Ambassador of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ahmad Al Rwaidi and the member of the Wadi Hilweh Committee Raed Gaith.