a day out for Najdeh's children

Spending Easter in Lebanon, despite the FCO advising against all travel there, has its benefits. There were so many good reasons to go: seeing family and friends was first and foremost; catching up with our two producers; and for the first time visiting Najdeh Association, with spring flowers and good food not being far behind.

buildings which form part of Shatila Camp Beirut

We were able to hand over a donation made possible thanks to shorkk’s customers to Sania Khalil who works for Najdeh Association in Shatila camp, Beirut. Although a smaller donation than our previous one for the residents of Gaza Hospital in Sabra, Beirut, it was no less significant for the 80 children who benefited from it.

children placing a bottle in a cup as part of a team game organised by Najdeh
fit-the-bottle-in-the-cup race

Shatila camp where Najdeh is based, is a tightly packed warren of streets, with little light or air. On the top floor of Najdeh’s building is the only “outside” space available to the 80 children who come to the school for lessons and learning support. The roof covering is made out of plastic, which keeps the children dry, but means that the space is like a furnace in summer and makes playing there impossible. 

children doing their homework in the play area on the roof of Najdeh
children practising their spelling in the play area on the roof of Najdeh 

Since outside green space is a premium commodity in Beirut, Sania knew exactly what she wanted to use the donation for. She organised two buses to take 80 children, aged 6-12, for a day out at a football pitch. The accompanying staff organised games and face painting, and encouraged the children to practise their football skills. Luckily there was money over to make sure they all had a snack too.

A boy's face being painting
everyone’s favourite: facepainting 

What really shocked us was hearing that the last time they had been outside the camp to play in an open space was before covid in 2020. That’s four years ago. With the future of their organisation in limbo, partly as a result of the UK who have not yet reinstated funds for UNRWA, we’ve agreed with Najdeh that we will regularly send a donation so that they are able to organise outings for the children when the situation allows. 

team games as part of a day out for children who are looked after by Najdeh Association
team games are always popular 
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