Sumud at the Summer School

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Notwithstanding the wave of Israeli oppression in the West Bank (before the invasion of Gaza in July), AEI’s summer school managed to implement most of the activities. However, an animation cartoon project had to be cancelled because the female trainers from Gaza were not allowed to enter the West Bank.

 Aims and activities

 By Roger Salameh, leader youth program


AEI’s annual Summer School of Communication was titled this year “Love your Country”.

The aims of the summer school were the following:


  • Giving more space to our members to take over responsibility and tasks.
  • Teaching participants about their country, especially those unable to get out from their cities, villages and camps.
  • Taking  break from the pressures at school and having some fun during summer. 
  • Encouraging Palestinian students and their families to develop and communicate their country and its culture.

 The summer school, from June 16 – 28, was arranged in cooperation with the Greek Catholic School in Beit Sahour. Kids participated in sports, drama, dance, music, handicrafts, swimming, ice breaking games and fieldtrips. The summer school was followed by the Sumud Festival which included children singing in Arabic and English, a Dabkeh performance, poetry, and various Rap songs. Afterwards, the parents went to the exhibit to see the kids’ handicrafts works and photography.

 Two groups from the school and two from AEI were targeted; in total some 100 kids in the range 5 – 12 years. Both international and local trainers were involved in helping, coordinating and facilitating most activities. Four members from the Youth Management Training Team were in charge of the implementation, of course together with me.


 By Jenny Campbell, volunteer from the US

 - The Greek Catholic School had a great location. The kids were kept safe and under supervision of adults at all times.

 - The field trips were excellent, all locations made it possible for children to enjoy themselves and learn something new. 

 - I believed children really enjoyed their art projects, creating a sense of pride which is always wonderful.

 - The end of the festival was great, good performances, good attendance, children were participating and proud of their efforts.

 - The photography sessions: children were proud of their accomplishments, took quality photographs.

 - The music program was excellent, the teacher was good and the children sang well

 - No injuries or accidents!

 A poster project in the village of Artas

 By Roger Salameh

 During the summer school a group of 10 older youth visited the Artas area to plan for fixing some informative thin-steal story posters there, of similar or smaller format as the posters of the Wall Museum near the Sumud Story House. This time, the posters would emphasize the beauty of the local heritage. Initially it was the plan to go and visit other places but because of the difficult political situation it was not possible to visit the Hebron area and other villages. In fact, the Artas area has a lot to offer, and the plan is now to have there four to six large posters in the English language so as to inform visitors. All is done in cooperation with the Artas Folklore Center. A local guide gave detailed explanations of the sites in the area, supplemented by information from the Folklore Center.

 The AEI youth group went on two separate occasions in June. In a first trip they visited the spring, the Solomon Pools, and the Artas Center. There were good group dynamics, and our members explored the area to figure out where the signs needed to be put. 

The second journey took place at the Monastery opposite the village. Another visit was paid to the Center and finally we took a hike into the agricultural fields. The group was respectful, prompt, attentive and overall seemed inquisitive and positive about this project. 

 Among the poster themes

 1. Springs 

 The springs are the lifeline of Artas, and the wells hold many traditions around women who meet there and local daily life. A poster positioned on the left hand side of the grid at the well could be effective, with information on how important these springs were to local daily life in the past.

 2. The Soloman Pools 

 This is a big attraction and historical site in Artas. A poster positioned on the walls at the main entrance to the car park could be effective with information on the history and use of the pools in the past.

3. The Monastery

The church remains a popular visiting site for both tourists and locals alike. With the bridge in front of the church for interfaith interaction, the nuns do their daily prayers also for the people of Artas, The Monastery remains a beloved site for all. Possible locations for the sign include the entrance to the monastery.

4. Agriculture

Artas is known for its rich fields - anything from cucumber, to zucchini, mint, eggplant, and more. Their most famous crop is lettuce, which is each year celebrated at the Lettuce Festival, a beloved tradition. Signs detailing what Artas grows, during which seasons, and a short description of the festival may be included on the signs. 

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