On Wednesday morning, around 30 Palestinian and Syrian refugee children from the Shatila camp assembled in CYC’s play space for an invigorating and relaxing lesson in Yoga.
The young participants demonstrated a tremendous focus, fully embracing the activity and following the instructions of their teacher with precision.
The session emphasized practices for relaxing and relieving stress, including breathing techniques and meditation.
Given CYC’s interests in attending to the psycho-social needs of children and youth in the communities, in which it works, this program served an important purpose, beyond pure recreation.
At the end of the activity, the children thanked their instructor and expressed excitement for the next session the following week.
Midday on Friday, 32 people including CYC board members and affiliates, gathered in CYC’s library to discuss the duties and programs of the organization in the past, present, and future.
The event featured a thorough evaluation of the last two years of CYC’s work, highlighting all of its activities and contributions, with a candid discussion of what is lacking in its practices and what should be improved.
Following the evaluation, a conversation opened up among the members and youth in attendance about a range of topics from strengthening the bonds between CYC and its members and friends to upholding and promoting Child Rights, as spelled out in international treaties and conventions. The latter topic has become of particular importance in light of the urgent need to provide education, psycho-social assistance, and protection for the large number of young Syrian refugees, who have recently arrived in Palestinian camps in Lebanon. Over the course of this dialogue, several recommendations were offered for projects and visions to be implemented by CYC.
The program then entailed the election of a new committee, to serve as CYC board members for the coming two years.
The meeting came to a close with a beautiful poem written and read aloud by the acclaimed Lebanese poet Mariam Bajouk about Palestine. It was a wonderfully inspiring note to end on. When the official program was over, a lunch was held, in which members mingled and chatted in the positive atmosphere fostered by the meeting.
Yesterday, 85 children and youth from the Shatila Refugee Camp gathered in CYC to participate in a number of group activities, that had them singing, dancing, laughing and jumping with joy.
To begin the morning program, the children joined hands in a circle and pooled their voices in songs and chants, produced with great energy and enthusiasm. Groups of children and youth took turns leading their peers, rushing into the circle and leading each other in chants to the rhythm of clapping hands and drum-beats.
Following this initial activity, there was a brief humorous skit led by two CYC facilitators, which aimed to convey appropriate ways of resolving disputes between friends without resorting to verbal abuse or fighting. When the skit came to a close, the children cheered and offered their insight about it demonstrating a clear grasp of its meaning and purpose.
More recreational activities ensued, including a game of musical chairs, which everyone approached with a good-spirited competitiveness.
The activities combined useful life-lessons with a sense of playfulness and fun, providing a happy release for all in attendance.
On Thursday, 20 teenagers from the Shatila camp gathered in CYC’s library for a workshop, geared toward increasing self-awareness and building within them a foundation of hope.
The discussions emphasized both personal responsibility and collectivity. Unity, it was said, provided the basis both for strong communities and strong campaigns for advocacy.
A lunch was provided and the group talked and shared, developing all the while the sense of cohesion and mutual cooperation that the workshop promoted.