Project realized with funds Otto per Mille of the Waldesian Church (Italy)
The project aims to promote the right to education for vulnerable children & youth in East Jerusalem (old city and surrounds). Increasing educational opportunities is unavoidable condition to get the children out of the marginalization and to make them grow as responsible citizens, aware and builders of peace. The project supported civil society organizations in the Old City which provide educational and social services for marginalized / vulnerable children & youth. In partnership with the associations Burj Al Luq Luq Social Center and the Old City Youth Association, the following activities have been implemented: schooling support / remedial courses for children and youth with school difficulties, sport activities (basketball & football) for children and youth, kindergarten for 3-5 years kids, traditional dance activities for youth.
Current situation of Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem results in an increasing economic, political, social and security conditions’ deterioration. The whole East Jerusalem has having a clear deterioration in the quality of life and in service levels, with drastic declines in education, social, health and sanitation services, house conditions, rising of unemployment and poverty levels.
Basic public services are insufficient vis a vis the needs of Palestinian residents. Public schools are overcrowded; there are no spaces as parks and gardens to offer social and meeting opportunities for children and youth; children, youth and women are permanently exposed to a context of physical & psychological violence.
Children, youth and women are those most affected by the lack of educational, social and employment opportunities: such lack, coupled with permanent exposure to violence & conflict situations, strongly hinder the possibility for a peaceful and democratic future in the Palestinian society.
General Objective: Promoting the right to education in the Palestinian Territories
Specific Objective: Enhancing educational and social services for marginalized children & youth in East Jerusalem, exposed to violence’s / conflict’s situations. Increasing educational opportunities is unavoidable condition to get the children out of the marginalization and to make them grow as responsible citizens, aware and builders of peace.
The project aims at empowering Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and to strengthen their resilience by enhancing and facilitating the access to social and educational services for vulnerable children and youth.
Enhancing basic services as educational and social opportunities will reduce the risk of voluntary abandon and displacement of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, and – on the other side – it will contribute to set the basis for the growing of a generation of citizens responsible and builders of a peaceful and democratic society.
The Action has been identified and jointly carried out by CISP, Burj Al Luq Luq Social Center (BALL) and Old City Youth Association (OCYA), which are Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) providing since years basic services to the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, mainly children, youth and women. CISP has a long-standing cooperation history with such organizations through ongoing and past cooperation projects funded by European Union, Regione Emilia Romagna, Waldensian Church.
The project is an integration and completion of a similar ongoing action which CISP, BALL and OCYA are carrying out since November 2018 (“Fostering socio-economic empowerment and protection of vulnerable Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem–Phase II”), with the financial contribution of the European Commission.
1. Schooling support and remedial courses for children and youth
School drop-out is a common issue among Palestinian young people living in the Old City and in East Jerusalem and, most of the time, parents are not able to support their kids in their studies nor to help them out with homework and school tasks.
The Burj Al Luq Luq Center is delivering remedial individual sessions for support to homeworks and improvement of skills in in Arabic, English and Maths to children and youth with difficulties at school, coming from Bab Hutta (quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem) and surrounds.
The project provided schooling support/remedial courses at the BALL premises contributing to the payment of the teachers. Sessions to support schooling were provided to 165 pupils (children and adolescents, both male and female), who attended and benefited from at least one of the 3 courses of English , Math and Arabic.(and 61 of these even participated to 2 or 3 of the courses offered).
2. Sport: Basketball & Football
East Jerusalem is home to thousands at-risk children; the rate of family violence is rising and the number of Palestinian children with post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders including depression increased in the recent years.Violations of children’s rights in Jerusalem have been documented by UNICEF too: children are doubly affected, sometimes by multiple traumatic events and by the effects of the trauma on their parents and care-givers.
Giving back to children and young people their rights to play, to benefit from recreational activities and to have places and spaces for self-expression or for just being themselves has therefore a key role in their development and empowerment.
Burj Al Luq Luq Social Center is the only existing “protected and safe” free open space/facility in the Bab Hutta quarter in the Old City for children and youth for meeting, playing, having recreations and sport. Such a unique and fundamental role of the Center must be supported, protected, strengthened and enhanced in benefit of Palestinian children and families.
The project provided financial resources for football and basket trainers for carrying on weekly sessions that benefited a total of 111 male and female Palestinian children and adolescents from East Jerusalem, 48 involved in Basketball training and 63 in Football training. within the premises of BALL in the Old City.
There is an important lack of many social and educational facilities for Palestinians children in East Jerusalem and the same applies to kindergartens. BALL kindergarten is one of the few Palestinian institutions of this kind in the Old City and it is hence indispensable to support it and to improve the quality of its services, providing a positive and playful learning environment for kids aged 3 to 5. The added value of having a successful and efficient kindergarten within the settings and premises of the Old City is fundamental in terms of reducing risk and deviant behaviors for children, who are otherwise obliged to spend most of their time on the streets.
BALL kindergarten is a private preschool education facility following Palestinian Educational programs. The project supported the kindergarten contributing to cover the cost of teachers /trainers to provide educational services to 42 children in 9 school months.
4. Palestinian traditional dance activities for youth
Among other social recreational activities for youth, the Old City Youth Association (OCYA) organizes folklore dance activities and courses with the twofold aim of preserving Palestinian traditions among new generations and creating social and recreational opportunities for youth.
The Project supported the organization of weekly training in Palestinian folklore dance, that were attended with great interest and regular participation by 22youth (male and female) in 6 months.
Direct beneficiaries: 340 between vulnerable children (3-12 years) and youth (13-16 years) benefited from at least one, and often more than 1, of the offered services. They attended the activities supported/promoted by the project such as social/recreational activities, preschool education services, schooling support/remedial courses, recreational/educational summer camps, folklore dancing sessions. The indirect beneficiaries are the extended families of the direct beneficiaries and the whole population of the targeted areas, around 1700persons.