Madaa Creative Center
Silwan, East Jerusalem
The Madaa Creative Center is located in the Wadi Hilweh area of Silwan, East Jerusalem. MECA first began our partnership with Madaa Center in 2010 when we supported an innovative project to give the children a place to play and, at the same time, help the community hold onto their land. Silwan is home to 55,000 residents, and yet there was not a single playing/sportsfield or playground in the village. The playgrounds offer an opportunity for healing and a healthy play experience for the children of Wadi Hilweh who suffer from ongoing psychological trauma.
After learning more about Madaa's great work in the community from music, dance, and art lessons for children to language and handicraft programs for women, MECA is excited to help Madaa Center buy a building in Silwan and make a permanent home for Madaa.
MECA and Madaa Center are thrilled that, thank to your contributions, Madaa was able to purchase one of the buildings they were renting. This house and courtyard were used for the music and art activities during Madaa’s free summer camp and are used all year for Madaa's afterschool programs, including their psychosocial project for children who have been arrested.
Since Palestinians in East Jerusalem are prohibited from building new buildings, or even expanding existing ones, Madaa’s activities take place in five different rented apartments, small houses, or offices. The building they are trying to buy is where the center’s youth club and music, dance, theater, art and women’s activities take place. It also houses a support program Madaa began for children who have been arrested to meet a need that, sadly, keeps growing.
The purchase of this building is so crucial to Madaa’s day-to-day work—and much more. The children of Silwan have a place of their own. It means a better life for families today and a way to hold onto the land for the future.
In 2012, MECA continued our partnership with Madaa by funding their children's librarian who organizes several weekly activities including storytelling and art and a special tutoring program that supports children who are under house arrest or who have fallen behind in school due to home demolitions, arrests, Israeli settler violence, or related conditions. Madaa has hired teachers to visit the children under house arrest for one-on-one sessions. This is crucial so that these children have a chance at a better future and are able to access their right to education, a right that Israel denies them when they sentence children to house arrest. Madaa also organizes group study sessions for children who are able to come to the center. Below is a video about children under house arrest made by Madaa's sister organization, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center: