The Aida Youth Center (AYC), in conjunction with The Walled Off Hotel, hosted a 10-day 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 hosted 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. The activities included life skills and entertainment, including Civil Defense on fire safety, in addition to learning arts, such as playing musical instruments and drawing, painting, pcycling/recycling plastic waste into plant holders.
Moreover, the children received lessons on nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation with local Football, basketball, different games and acted out theater plays about daily life in the camp written by the children.
Finally, the children learned the history of Palestinian refugee issues, human rights, and Palestinian history, and received media training on how to take pictures and videos as a method of nonviolent defense against the Israeli occupation.
The free summer camp aimed 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.