Shatila Youth Gather for Group-building Activities

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16 Shatila teens, aged 16 to 19 , bonded over the course of two hours of enrichment activities this morning in CYC’s library.

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The events brought into view the common issues in their lives and underscored the need for everyone to support each other.

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The program was aimed at increasing self-confidence, mutual respect, and camaraderie in a group of youth poised to be among the leaders of their peers.

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All of the activities stressed the importance of working together and included choreographing dances,  playing trust-building and problem-solving games, and engaging in discussions about their lives over a meal.

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The program offered a chance for youth to bond while simultaneously encouraging them to use their full potential as a collective to advocate for their rights and make sure their voices are heard.

CYC Delivers Aid to Palestinian and Syrian Refugee Families in Shatila

1Palestinian camps in Lebanon are in the midst of an ongoing humanitarian crisis. With recent cuts in aid from UNRWA coinciding with a massive influx of Syrian refugees into the camps, social problems like hunger are becoming more pervasive.

2Many families in Shatila and elsewhere are forced to make devastating decisions on a daily basis, like choosing whether to buy medicine or food.

3Such conditions are inhumane and CYC, for its part, is attempting to do as much as it can to improve them.

4On Wednesday, CYC in cooperation with the Al-Amal Institute for the Disabled and the “Sweater and Wheat” Relief Program, procured and distributed packages of food and home-necessities to about 200 Syrian and Palestinian families in Shatila. Both staff members and youth volunteers helped out in the process. The items included staples such as burghol, chickpeas, beans, homos, wheat, lentils, as well as sweaters and soap.

5Such efforts, which help meet the demands of suffering families, are important but cannot exist in isolation. Other organizations are, indeed, pitching in, like CYC, but more must be done across the board in order to address this deeply troubling situation.

Shatila and Nahr el-Bared Children and Youth Take Part in the Beirut Marathon

1Around 150 children and youth from the Shatila Camp and around 35 from the Nahr el-Bared Camp, sporting matching t-shirts provided with generous support from UNICEF and the Permanent Peace Movement, filed onto buses chartered by CYC early on a beautiful Sunday morning.

20131110_071902Before long, they arrived at the Biel district of Beirut, where the spent a joyful day partaking in various activities surrounding the Beirut Marathon.

2In addition to attending the festivities surrounding the event, many of these young Palestinian and Syrian refugees took part in a five kilometer race, held in conjunction with the longer race.

3It was a happy occasion, with kids and CYC facilitators running hand-in-hand, while waving the Palestinian flag as well as a flag bearing CYC’s logo.

4As the children and youth crossed the finish-line they were greeted with cheers and applause by bystanders and presented with new backpacks as well as medals by the event’s coordinators.

5The Marathon’s motto was “Run for Lebanon,” and it was emphasized throughout the day that the event was about  promoting peace for all. This message certainly resonated with these youngsters.

20131110_091717It was a day of fun and pride and its memories will surely remain with all who participated.

Shatila Children and Youth Give a Stunning Dance Performance at pre-Marathon Celebration

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Two large busloads of Palestinian and Syrian refugee children descended on the Biel district of Beirut for a pre-Marathon celebration on Friday.

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The celebration began with a stimulating art activity, facilitated by the Beirut-based “I Leaf Art” organization.

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The children painted and drew with skill, producing an array of creative pictures.

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Following this activity, one group of younger children and another group in their teens showed off their dance moves, in performances of traditional dabke dances.

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The groups had been rehearsing for this day for weeks and their practice certainly paid off, as their performances were stunning.

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The energy and charisma of these dancers was truly inspiring. It was a spectacular night all around.

Shatila Children Sing, Dance and Draw during CYC’s Friday Activity

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This Friday morning, more than 60 Palestinian and Syrian refugee children lifted their feet, raised their voices and picked up crayons and pencils in CYC’s library.

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The weekly program consisted of a range of activities, including stretching, dancing, singing and drawing.

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Forming a circle and joining hands, the children took turns leading the group, spontaneously entering the circle and confidently teaching their peers a new song or chant.

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The activity, which followed, produced dazzling pictures. The children showed tremendous creativity with their art. Some of the more popular themes of the drawings were football matches, the Palestinian flag, and friends holding hands.

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If measured by the smiles on the faces of the children participating, the day was a resounding success.

Space for the children and youth of Shatila and Nahr el-Bared camp