On the fourth day of the Ghassan Kanafani Brigade, the Samidoun international delegation to Lebanon visited the Bourj Al Barajneh refugee camp in the south of Beirut. In the camp we met with the Al-Naqab Center for Youth Activities, its members and its coordinator, Mohammed Abu Ali.
The Al Naqab Center was founded in 2013 by Palestinian and Lebanese youth, who came together to address urgent needs facing the community, working with the Maan group (“Together”) and the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM).
The center focuses on four main points: 1) Becoming economically independent, without reliance on NGOs and charity funds; 2) “From the river to the sea”: they do not compromise on the question of the liberation of all of Palestine; 3) The people working in the center are all volunteers; 4) They are committed to boycotting Israeli products and companies.
The center saw the effects of the standard school curriculum among the students, noting that it failed to teach skills in critical and independent thought. This led to launching what is now the main activity of the center: after-school education.
Eventually, the after-school education and its students became a part of the center as a whole, and they began joining other activities, beginning from a program to help students with homework and general schoolwork and evolving into a place where volunteers could further the education and development of youth thought.
The center noticed that Palestinian youth were not being taught about their own history and geography in the standard curriculum, so they created their own curriculum focused on keeping this history and culture alive among Palestinian children and youth.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that most of the students were not used to working independently, which created a crisis when children suddenly needed to rely on their phones for school. This became an opportunity for the center to develop a program focused on independent work and thought.
The aim of the center’s school programs is to provide the youth with the knowledge they need for them to be the next generation of Palestinians fighting for their liberation.
The center also organizes a youth group that works not only in the center but throughout the camp as a whole, dealing with social issues and challenges like the economic crisis, mass impoverishment and drug addiction. The center also works to coordinate with Palestinians inside Palestine and everywhere in exile and diaspora.
During the uprisings in the camps in 2019, the center played a role in supporting the demonstrations and educating people on their rights as Palestinian refugees.
In the center, the children play a major role in decision-making, working to decide new rules and having a say in who teaches and provides their educational programs at the center.
- Read the Day 3 Report: Samidoun Delegation to Lebanon Day 3: Generations of struggle for return and liberation
- Read the Day 2 Report: Samidoun Delegation to Lebanon Day 2: Political and cultural discussions at Mar Elias camp
- Read the Day 1 Report: Samidoun delegation to Lebanon begins: Visit to Shatila camp, meeting with boycott campaign
The delegation will proceed throughout the coming days, with ongoing reports of the delegation’s meetings and work throughout Lebanon. You can also follow the progress of the delegation on Samidoun Stockholm’s social media (@samidoun08), Collectif Palestine Vaincra (@collectifpalestinevaincra) and Samidoun Spain (@samidoun.esp).
The delegation is self-funded by Samidoun Network and the participants taking part in the delegation and its meetings. However, the delegation also aims to support organizing and build resources in the Palestinian refugee camps and throughout Lebanon, which is currently experiencing an extreme financial crisis, the greatest burden of which is falling on the most marginalized.
Your contribution can help the delegation to support the work of grassroots organizers in the Palestinian refugee camps to sustain and build their work as well as launching new centers for organizing for liberation and return for Palestine. Make your donation below to support this important initiative.