Al Assria Children's Library

Jabalia Refugee Camp, Gaza

Al AssriaThe Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) has been supporting Al Assria since 1998. We have funded two staff positions for young adults with disabilities, provided equipment for their youth media training project, distributed back-packs with school supplies to their participants, and made grants to their art programs.

Al Assria Children’s Library is part of the Union of Health Work Committee’s medical center in Jabalia Refugee Camp. The UHWC opened the library in 1992 to better serve the community. They believe that part of improving health and living standards is providing cultural and recreational activities for children and youth.

Al Assria has grown from a small library to a full center with drama classes, a debka troupe, summer camps, computer lessons, and a media training program that has produced several short films about the center and about life in Jabalia Refugee Camp.

Jabalia is only 1.4 square kilometers but it is home to over 100,000 people, making it the largest Palestinian refugee camp and one of the most crowded places in the world. Since the Israeli closure of Gaza in 2000, unemployment rates have soared and over 1/5 of the camp’s population are eligible for additional assistance from UNRWA(United Nations Relief Work Agency) under their special hardship program.