Rania’s family, and a summer camp breakthrough

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Many people have asked me how Rania and her family have been doing this year. (Here’s the backstory on Rania, if you’re unfamiliar with it.)

Thanks to the generosity of many kind donors, she was able to finish her house, so the family no longer has to fear homelessness. I can’t describe what a joy it is for them. Having a home, a space of privacy and dignity, is priceless for a Palestinian family. This help has been a powerful answer to the Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian homes.

Meanwhile Rania has continued and intensified her social work in Tulkarem. Her big project for the summer was organizing a summer camp for children, especially kids from refugee camps. But there was a twist: She also invited their mothers to some of the activities, including picnics and a day of playing in an amusement park.

Rania said they were amazed, because it was the first time anyone had included them in something like that. They were also given free counseling sessions, and many said it was the first time anyone had allowed them to express their feelings and cry.

Mothers in Palestine have to keep the family together more than anyone. The society would quickly collapse without their strength. But there’s little space for them to break down or show emotion. They can do so at funerals, but death is only the tip of the iceberg of what occupation means for Palestinian families. Day to day they feel they have to remain composed, even when their heart is breaking…

To read on, and view more pictures of Rania’s smart and funny kids, plus photographs from the summer camp, visit: http://fasttimesinpalestine.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/rania

Happy pumpkin season,


About Pamela Olson

Pamela Olson is the author of Fast Times in Palestine. She blogs here.

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  1. Annie Robbins
    September 14, 2012, 7:05 am

    One ten-year-old boy came up to her after a workshop on human rights and said angrily, “You give us exercises and let us play, and you say nice words about international law, but we still don’t have human rights. You should be honest about this.”

    Kids aren’t stupid. They know what they see.

    She was taken aback, but she said, “I understand, I feel with your anger. God willing, one day we will have human rights.”

    It’s a terrible thing to have to say to a ten-year-old. But it’s good to give them forums in which they can learn what they’re missing and vent about their pent-up feelings, so that hopefully one day they will be more effective in the struggle to implement their rights.

    wow. thanks pamela. love the photos. it’s really wonderful what you have done. you are a true friend indeed.

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