Recreation and Learning Day - Love of Books & Life!

Wednesday 18 November 2015

This distinguished activity is an important psycho-social tool to reduce the great stress and sufferings of Palestinian children in occupied and besieged Gaza still traumatized by the Israeli aggression on Gaza.
It was a day that gathers the children in an open relaxing place where we implemented a number of learning and recreational activities.

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Goals of the open day

Finding some recreation and joy for the targeted group

Exchanging experience and knowledge

A chance to learn

Plan of activities

# The Activity Mechanism of Execution Timing Remarks
1. Welcoming the participating group A number of games of getting to know each other 9-10
2. Group breakfast 10
3. Artistic activities Divide the attendants into four groups and each group implements a number of artistic activities ( coloring, drawing the name of the child with mosaic- masking 10:30
4. A story teller and discussing stories Choose a story from the stories of Palestinian folktales and personify it by a story teller 10:30
5. Break A break and going to Friday prayers for those who want 12:30-1:30
6. Recreational competitions and games Executing a number of recreational and stress releasing games for the participants 1:40-3:30
7. Lunch 3:30-4:30
8. End and l departue of participants 5

Mechanism of work in the open day

The animators welcomed the children and then they were divided into two alternating groups: one group does games of getting to know each other and breaking the ice among the children and the other group prepares breakfast for the children. Breakfast was distributed to the children and they were given some time to enjoy it and talk with each other and have the chance to get to know each other. This was very important as this was the first time children from the two libraries meet up!

Then the sports facilitators made group activities which included the fifty participants, like drama games, relaxing and movement games and games of concentration and imagination.

Then a group of girls presented a show in the signs language of the song “I am the son of Jerusalem” and they presented it as a gift for the children of Jerusalem as a message of love and steadfastness and challenge. Then the group danced (the dolphin dance with the participation of the working group.

Another group of children presented (Al Dahba)* from the Palestinian Bedouin heritage.

Then one of the facilitators told a story (If I was a bird) in a beautiful manner then he left the chance for the children to express themselves. When the children were asked what would you do if you were a bird? most of the answers were I would free Jerusalem from the dirt of occupation- stand by our citizens in resisting occupation and defending Jerusalem.

Some said I would go round and round my homeland Palestine to see it with no restrictions and obstacles! We continued to discuss the story “When the Golden Fish Stopped Dancing

Then we left the chance for all who wanted to pray.
After the tea break we divided the children into two groups for artistic work. The arts animators made an activity “our beautiful names” each child writes his/her name in a beautiful manner on a paper, then he either colors the name in what he likes or as mosaic by cutting some of the colored paper and pasting it and decorates it. When the activity was over the animator asked them a question: who liked his name in colors and everyone answered we all liked it; then he asked who would like to change his name to another name? and everyone answered we are proud of our names!

Then they had the activity of making masks for the children from colored cork and feathers to wear on occasions and parties; each child was able to make a pretty mask, at the end every child was happy to have his mask and name!

Then the chance was given for everyone to swim because they wanted to, especially that we found in the resort a small pool with not deep level, so some of them went for a swim with the care of the volunteers, and there were competitions in the pool among the children. Some of the girls went to the games and some sat to talk to each especially that they are from different areas..

Then there was the lunch break which the children enjoyed. The funny sad thing is that one of the children asked me while I (Nabeela) was presenting him with his plate is this plate all for me or I share it with my friend?

At the end we distributed the simple gifts to the participants and they were a pencil case and ruler and pencils and a sharpener in a nice box whereby everyone took the same gift. Then they went to the buses to take them home.

Reactions of the children to the recreational learning day

One of the children said: Not even in my dreams did I imagine to be in such a place or to swim in a pool far away from the sea and the fear of drowning.

One of the girls said: I am very happy that I got introduced to girls like me in another library and in a remote place in the north of Gaza and we are in the south so when we sat down and talked about our suffering in war and escaping and leaving Beit Hanoun I thought we alone suffered and had our house destroyed but I found out that there was the same suffering and escaping and fear and terror as if we are watching a film for the same people and heroes and directors.

One of the children added I wish you would have these days each summer and get us together I loved the children of Al Shawka very much.
All the children refused to go back home at five o’clock and begged to stay more but our commitment with the parents and the unsure situation at the lines and especially the demonstrations that go out after prayer all these elements prevented us from answering to their desires from fear on our part and in concern to everyone’s safety especially that they are from border areas.

As for the reactions of the facilitators and volunteers they were happy to work with the children and said that Friday is our week-end but when we saw how happy the children were, how deprived they are, how much they are in need for a hand to help them express themselves and to entertain them, we felt happy and that this work on Friday is a benevolent!

*Aldhbah similar to al Dabka folkdance, but from of Bedouin heritage; where the leader of the group sings Zajal (popular poetry) the rest of the group repeats the Zagal, all hollding hands and dance to the rhythm …

The attendants: 50 children from both libraries- Beit Hanoun al-Sikka - and Rafah- Al Shawka libraries and 12 of animators/facilitators and volunteers in addition to the librarians and Gaza coordinator.

Place: ‘Crazy Water’ resort- Gaza

Day and date/ Friday 23/10/2015

Time: from nine to five


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