Afaq Jadeeda Association
Nuseirat Refugee Camp, Gaza
The Afaq Jadeeda (New Horizons) Association in Nuseirat Refugee Camp, Gaza was established in 1996. Afaq Jadeeda provides a creative outlet for more than 50 children daily, and holds summer and winter camps. The center also has a library, a stage for plays, a football (soccer) team, a growing computer lab, English classes for kids ages 14-18, and a kindergarten for 100 children.
The Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) established a partnership with Afaq Jadeeda in 2005 when we donated a video camera for the staff and young people to document their activities and record their theatre productions. Since then MECA has provided funding for a variety of activities each year. Our funding shifts according to the needs of children and families.
The children in the refugee camp cannot go far because of the Israeli closure of Gaza, but Afaq Jadeeda takes them to nearby cities and villages to learn more about the people and the landscape of the Gaza Strip. Afaq Jadeeda’s strong relationship with the surrounding community has made it possible for them to include girls and boys together in their programs.
MECA donated meals for their 2006 summer camp, and funded their 2007 winter camp. In early 2007, Dr. Mona El-Farra, MECA’s Director of Gaza Projects, distributed packages of nutritious food and educational toys to 100 children in Afaq Jadeeda's kindergarten. She also arranged for blood tests and check-ups for the children; and educational meetings with the mothers about children’s health and nutrition.
In fall 2007, MECA sent funds to start Afaq Jadeeda's first sports team - a boys' soccer team. With few opportunities and near-constant violence, sports are a crucial way for young people in Gaza to release tension and build trust. The group of youth on the Al-Tariq soccer team played their first game in late October 2007! They continue to practice regularly and play friendly matches with other soccer teams in Gaza.
MECA helped Afaq Jadeeda purchase and upgrade a school bus for their kindergarten program so children from several central Gaza refugee camps can get to school safely, and at no cost to their families.
Most recently, we have supported their innovative program, Let the Children Play and Heal, to help children in Gaza recover from the trauma of Israel’s three week assault in December 2008-January 2009 and week-long assault in November 2012. This program reaches tens of thousands of children all across Gaza and also trains parents, teachers, and social workers to support the traumatized children in their communities.