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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
26 November 2009
The Blue Balloon Takes A Final Flight
Yesterday saw the Blue Balloon take its final flight after a two month-campaign throughout the West Bank to share the commemoration of UNRWA’s 60
anniversary with young camp residents. For two months, the Blue Balloon Mobile vehicle has wound its way around the West Bank, packed with music, a slide show, games, posters, drinks, volunteers, scores of good will and, of course, hundreds of blue balloons. Despite rain, the specially decorated vehicle was greeted enthusiastically on its farewell jaunt by the young residents of Ar Ramadin.
The show began with a rousing performance by Palestinian children’s performer Omar Jalal, whose songs about the freedom of birds to fly over all obstacles soon have had his young audiences rapt throughout the campaign period. After this, volunteers from Sharek, the Palestinian Youth Forum, engaged the kids with fun activities and distributed a range of interactive materials, including sticker posters of the continent of Europe donated by the EU, and a cartoon poster depicting the number sixty with images of refugee camp life to be coloured in. Nobody left empty-handed.
As the evening drew in, kids and adults alike were entertained by a slide show and an animated clip depicting UNRWA’s presence in the lives of Palestine refugees over six decades through the motif of the Blue Balloon. The event culminated in the symbolic release of 60 helium-filled balloons into the night-sky, to raucous applause and cheers from the young crowd.
The ‘Blue Balloon Mobile’ has been organised with the generous funding of the European Union, which contributed significantly toward the implementation of the activities. Other donors include the Hoping Foundation, the National Beverage Company, Bailasan Design and Zoom advertising. The implementing partner was Sharek Youth Forum.
Since September, the Blue Balloon Mobile has made its way across the West Bank, bringing fun and games to approximately 4,000 boys and girls in 18 refugee camps and Ar Ramadin. The campaign was carried out in conjunction with UNRWA’s Educational Recovery Plan (ERP), which aims to improve education in all of UNRWA’s schools in the West Bank under the motto ‘towards a brighter future’.