I was a volunteer with VolunteerPalestine this past summer in July 2018. I worked with the Aida youth center located in Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. When I arrived, there was a summer camp held by the youth center for the kids of the camp, this summer camp was held in one of the UNRWA schools of the camp and was a 4 week camp, I was able to participate in the last 2 weeks of the camp. The summer camp was meant to provide an alternative learning environment for the kids of the camp by offering them classes in music, arts and crafts, sports, culture, and photography. I was a teacher assistant for the music class along with one of the teachers (who was from the refugee camp) and another volunteer. We set up the music class for the kids based on age groups, for younger kids (7-10), we prepared them for the musical scale and sang Palestinian songs, whereas for the older kids (10-14) we tried incorporating the music into plays with beats and rhythm. After the summer camp was over, I worked at the Aida youth center, which was established by grassroots organizers from the camp. At the center I would arrive every morning (6 days a week) and conduct english classes for kids who enrolled with the center. There was no specific structure for the center and it was a more relaxed environment than in the summer camp. In general I would work around the center, other than english classes, with logistical stuff and planning some events and activities for the kids. I was able to make many friends, including from the youth center and outside, so normally after work I would meet up with my friends at a cafe or bar.
Overall, working at Aida Youth Center allowed me to critical understand the situation through first hand experiences. It allowed be to see the resilience and resistance of the people of the camp and the Palestinian people in general. Volunteering at Aida Youth Center is a fantastic way to display solidarity with the Palestinian cause and learn more about it.
Reem - Montreal, Canada