August 2010, Dheisheh camp — West Bank —The motto of the first summer camp for female community leaders across the West Bank is “one woman can make a difference”. The camp, held in Dheisheh camp in July 2010, aimed to empower women to be involved in decision-making and to influence their society.
Abeer Mohammed Kamal, from Aqbat Jaber camp, was able to meet another 60 young girls and women at the summer camp organised by the women’s department at UNRWA.
The camp introduced the women to various new skills and concepts such as team-building, leadership, communications, self-expression, international conventions on abolishing all forms of discrimination against women, and UN Resolution 1325 on the protection and empowerment of women in areas of conflict.
Boost in Self-Confidence
Abeer said: “Participating in this camp has really boosted my self confidence; I’ve increased my self-awareness, and fine-tuned my skills for dealing with topics and terminology such as gender. It’s also given me a great opportunity to meet other pro-active women in my society.”
The group gathered in Dheisheh for five days in early July to achieve one goal: to make a difference. They met to try to contribute towards building a better society and to improve conditions for refugee women. The women, all of whom currently work in various women’s centres, also discussed the value of volunteering and serving society.
Spending time together away from their families, the group got to know one another. During activities such as outdoor trips around the West Bank, strong friendships were formed.
A Significant Change
In past years, UNRWA has organised recreational summer camps for the benefit of children and young people. In this sense, a similar activity targeting educational and recreational activities towards women is a unique experiment.
It is hoped that these camps, geared towards a different target group, will help to build the self-confidence of women, and gradually to encourage a greater role for women in Palestinian society.
As Laila Sa’ad, of Far’a camp, stressed: “Making a difference in the life of every refugee woman, and improving her role in society, is an ongoing process… but a beautiful one.”