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New Sumud mission to Palestinian refugee camp

Ain el Hilweh, Lebanon, summer 2010: Creative, constructive and political solidarity

23. May 2010

In August 2009, an international youth brigade visited the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein El-Hilweh starting the joint project of Sumud and the Palestinian-Lebanese association Nashet.


Palestinian and European youth worked jointly in renovating a building, which had been destroyed in the successive sieges and bombardments of the camp. The restored building became a multipurpose community centre, a place of interchange, memory and civil commitment, a meeting point for all the young Palestinian of the refugee camp: the Cultural Centre “Sumud”.

This year, Sumud starts the second phase: a new brigade will go to the camp. With the help of the collected donations, further restoration and furnishing works will be carried out in the centre. The target of this year is even more ambitious: beside the voluntary works in the building, a film making workshop will be held for Palestinian and Lebanese youth, as well as for the international volunteers, whose task will also be to produce video documentation on the camp and the project.

The Centre has to be equipped with the necessary infrastructures to be able to become a small but efficient media centre, giving to the Palestinian youth of the camp a way to communicate with the outside world their daily suffering, their social and political demands, as well as their stitching to their right to return to Palestine and to live a dignified life.

A delegation of international volunteers will use the collected founds to finish the second step of furnishing and equipping the Sumud cultural centre in Ain el Hilweh. In addition, some video cameras and computers will be brought to the centre: they will serve as training devices during the two-week permanence of the brigade and will then be left in the centre for future usage.

1. Video Workshop “We Want To Live!”

Within the two weeks, two groups of Lebanese and Palestinian youth will have the opportunity to learn how to make one-minute movies about the daily life in and around the camp, using cameras and production software. The mixed nature of the target group will help to break the ghettoization of the camp, and to both enlarge the horizon of the camp youth on one side, and on the other side to enhance the awareness of Lebanese youth from Sidon about the life inside the camp, which is only few kilometres away.

A parallel training will be held for the Sumud international participants. Their aim will be to produce a documentary about the Sumud project.

The trainer is Arab Lotfi, a well known Lebanese film maker and political activist. She has produced several political and cultural video documentaries about the Resistance and the cultural life in Palestine, Lebanon and other Arab countries. Her film “A Short Visit” (1999) is a documentary on the daily life in Ein El-Hilewh and the Naji Ali youth centre.

Features of the Video Workshops:

•the Workshop duration will be at least one week;

•the participant number should not exceed 15 persons: if there are more participants, two workshops will be held;

•the workshop will take place in Sumud Centre in Ein El-Hilweh and in the centre of the Association of Culture and Literature in Sidon with participants from both centres;

•for the Arab youth, the workshop will be held in Arabic language and an Arabic – English translation for the international participants will be organized, while the workshop for international participant will be held in English;

•in few days, the participants will learn ways of developing ideas for short film, how to condense the ideas to short sequences, and also the techniques to use the camera;

•the short videos will be realized within the workshop time;

•on the last day, the one-minute movies will be screened at the centre in Ein-Elhilweh, during the final event of Sumud Brigade 2010;

•the documentary video of the international participants should include the final ceremony and is to be produced and screened in the centre afterwards; it will be also screened in Europe during found-raising meetings.

2. Furnishisng and equiping Sumud Centre in Ein El-Hilweh

This part of the project is the continuation of the Sumud project of 2009, and consists in furnishing the building in which the cultural centre was established during past year brigade.

International volunteers and Nashet activists (10-20 persons, not participating in the film workshop) will have the task to renovate and set up the purchased or collected furniture with the help of a local professional, who will develop and lead the project under the technical aspects and will help to specify:

•which furniture are most needed, which ones will be crafted, and where to place them in the centre;

•what aspects of handcrafting activities can be suitable for volunteers during the whole stay, given their presumable lack of experience, and with particular attention to workers’ safety;

•indicative work schedule divided in phases.

Working time will be every full morning of the stay, excepted a couple of days reserved for excursions.

We also want to setting up a computer network and a multimedia room: one of the purposes of this youth center will be precisely to connect with the world, to show the truth about the plight of millions of Palestinian refugees and explain why they have the sacred right of return to Palestine.

In order to set up the network, additionally to a good workstation computer purchased with our funds, some unsed computers (3 or 4 minimum) should be collected from persons or institutions to serve as terminals.

Alternatively, broken computers and functioning pieces can be taken and assembeled by some volunteers. Due to the high prices for the transportation, this buying and collecting should be made in Lebanon.

3. Social and political program

Besides of the video workshop and the volunteer work in the building, Sumud Brigade 2010 also contemplate a social and political part.

The participants will get to know the Lebanese and Palestinian political reality on the field. Simbolic places will be visited and prominent representatives of political parties and organizations will be met.

Planned excursions:

•Sabra-Shatila Camp – Shatila is the major Palestinian refugee camp near Beirut and an important ground for the Palestinian resistance; the camp is known for the massacre committed after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon 1982, when about 3000 persons were killed by the fascist Christian militias and the Israeli army. The camp also includes the cemetery of the Palestinian martyrs, the only non-confessional cemetery in the Arab world, where martyred Muslim, Christian and Jewish political activists are buried.

•Sidon, Tyrus and Southern Lebanon – The two main cities in the Southern Lebanon, Sidon and Tyrus, will be visited. Beside the city tours, an excursion will be organised to the southern boarder zone to visit the main fighting sites of the 2006 war.

•Refugee Camp of Nahr El-Bared, which was completly destroyed by the Lebanese army.

During their permanence, the international volunteers will meet:

•representatives of the political fractions of the camp;

•representatives of the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance organisations and civil society of southern Lebanon;

•local Lebanon authorities;

•representatives of Lebanon press during a press conference.

We Need Some More Euros

The restructuration of the building, that will be used as a political and cultural center, open to all the young people in the camp, costed (in addition to nearly three weeks of work by around twenty volunteers, who paid on their own all travel, room and board expenses) almost € 10,000, and also furnish and equip the renovated building is expensive.

Sumud isn’t an ONG, it isn’t subsidized by state governments or by European Union or UNO. The money that will be used for this project will be clean, they will not come from the same institutions that support or back the aggession to the Palestinian People.

We have already done a lot, but we can reach the needed amount of money to make the center an operative one only if many people partecipate.

If you are interested in our project of building renovation for remedial teaching, you can look at the brochure that illustrate it shortly.

You can donate by clicking on here; you can use your Paypal account, your Credit Card (normal or prepaid) or an online credit transfer.

If you prefer to use more traditional paying ways, you can do a credit transfer to our bank account.

current account made out to:
Sumud: volontariato e resistenza
at: Banca Popolare Etica
IBAN: IT19U0501802800000000127032

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