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Work Camp in Ein el-Hilweh, Lebanon

9. June 2009

August 19th – September 3rd 2009

Sumud association was born in order to offer our cooperation to those who endure oppression and refuse to resign themselves, without paternalism and with the awareness that what those people most need is not charity but help in their fight for justice.

The concrete and ambitious project we are proposing to everyone who shares our spirit is to take part in a work brigade in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh in the south of Lebanon. Ein el-Hilweh is a real ghetto where the almost 100.000 Palestinians have been living for generations in a terrible situation.

We have engaged with our partners of Nashet , a youth association composed of both Palestinians living in the camp and Lebanese, in a wide task aimed at improving the condition of young people and families of the camp by means of a drop-out recovery program (school dropout is a dramatic problem in the camp) and professional education.

The first step requires the renovation of a building inside the camp – a building formerly used as an office by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and half-destroyed by Israeli rockets – to turn it into a place suited for the activities planned in the project.

Our role in this phase will be to help the renovation works by finding funds, but above all by the labour of our own hands. The latter activity has both a concrete and symbolical implication for us because we want to establish human relationships rather than bureaucratic nets.

In order to emphasize this aspect, the volunteers will be hosted by families of the camp, while meetings and other initiatives will be organized to get them in touch with the culture and society of the camp and the daily problems of its populace.

The work brigade will operate from August 19th to September 3rd. The final program will be released in some weeks but a first draft of the work brigade plan can be found here. If you wish to have a general idea of the place in which the Sumud work brigade will operate, you can glance at some of the pictures taken by our delegation and collected in this photo gallery .

Restoring the building presumes finding funds (€25.000). Sumud isn’t an ONG, it isn’t subsidized by state governments or by European Union or UNO. The money that will be used to erect the building destined for the political and cultural activities of Ein el-Hilweh Youth will be clean, they will not come from the same institutions that support or back aggression towards the Palestinian people. We will be able to reach the needed amount of money only if many people participate.

The costs of the airplane tickets are to be met by the volunteers, as are those of the stay (200-300€) which cannot be afforded by the very poor guest families.

All this has been discussed in detail and finally approved by the first assembly of SUMUD, held in Florence (Italy), on June 6th, 2009.

The directive committee of SUMUD