A Visit to Al Talbieh Camp

by: Dana Khamis

On Tuesday the 26th we headed to the Talbieh Refugee Camp. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the directors of both Al Talbieh refugee camp and Al Wehdat refugee camp.

We started our program with the girls school, the girls had sports and were playing a game close to basketball. We visited the classrooms and were welcomed by the student council representative from the 9th grade, I must say I was impressed from her eloquence and strength of public speaking. Later we went to the boys school, the classroom were crowded, the quality of teaching (especially english language ) is of concern. Due to the crowdedness of the schools, there were two shifts; the morning from 6:30-12:00 and the evening shift from 12:30- 18:30. These schools lack extra-curricular activities, therefore, we have seen a lot of children on the streets doing almost nothing.
Later we ate Falafel sandwiches and had a little break and headed to the UNRWA clinic, which was also crowded and had a doctor, a dentist and a nurse. The doctor mentioned that there are two of them and that they both on average see 140 patients per day. The highlight of the day was the Women Center, we asked about the mechanisms they adopt for women to give feedback or complain and at this point we went through fierce discussions with the head of the improvement committee of the camp. He argued that women had absolutely no problems in this camp and therefore such mechanisms are not needed. The discussion went back and forth, but was good in the sense that it gave us  practical issues, examples, and indicators that we can relate to the CAAPs.
We had the pleasure to watch short films that were made through a workshop in the Talbieh camp by a group of young females and males. The films gave me hope – they were very creative and inspiring films that touched us profoundly and gave us an insider look of how these people feel and what do they think about their current situation.