Madaa Creative Center - Silwan recently organized a series of psychological, social, legal and cultural workshops. It also organized open days in the village of Silwan and the Old City. It organized a children's tour to the Islamic and Christian sanctuaries in Jerusalem, tour for the youth to the mountains of Jerusalem, and a tour for women to the holy Aqsa Mosque.
Social and psychological workshops for women
In cooperation with the Palestinian Center for Guidance, the Social and Psychological department at Madaa Creative Center organized a workshop entitled “A happy married life”, in which a group of married and engaged women participated.
The social researcher at Madaa, Hanan Salim, said: “The objective of the workshop is to improve family relations, and to educate and guide women on the importance of a healthy marital relationship, and understanding between spouses. The meeting included activities, counseling and support for each woman”.
Workshops for young adults
The department also organized a workshop for young adults under the title “Challenges facing young people and ways to address them” in two branches of the center, Wadi Hilweh and Batn Al Hawa in Silwan village.
Salim said: “There are challenges facing the youth of the town of Silwan as a result of the constant and systematic political violence against them, and the internal psychological pressures that cause them to feel tense. The aim of the meeting was to give authority to psychological disorders, how to understand the external and internal challenges and to be able to solve and confront them, as well as to get rid of the anger that is caused as a result of these challenges.”
The Department also organized a series of meetings for the youth group entitled “Life Skills and Youth Empowerment”, some of the objectives of the meetings are: “Self-management such as managing stress, time, control, relaxation, control of anger and social awareness, empathy, respect for others, managing conflict and forming relationships with peers in a positive way, and making decisions through logical and correct thinking, as well as being effective in society and building their trust properly”.
On another note, the Center organized a legal workshop on “interrogation and arrest”, in which a group of young people participated, including those who were subjected to detention.
The workshop was mainly legal information provided by lawyer Razan Al Jubeh on the rights of the detainee during the arrest and interrogation. The young men who have been arrested before and were participants in this workshop shared their different stories about the moments of arrest and interrogation”.
Joint workshops for young adults and their families
In the same context, the department organized in cooperation with the Palestinian Center for Guidance another workshop entitled “Internet and adolescence” in which young men and their mothers participated in the branch of Ein Al Loza – Silwan.
The coordinator of Ein Al Loza branch, Abeer Abbasi said: “The workshop included a variety of activities where participants were divided into groups and discussed stories related to the Internet and adolescence, in order for both “teenagers and mothers” to understand each other’s way of thinking and to give trust, but at the same time to be cautious about the dangers of the Internet.”
The department also organized a series of liberating, preventive and curative workshops for a group of young people and their parents. Its main objective is to break the barriers between young people and their parents, particularly boys and young men who have been subjected to political violence such as house arrest, detention, house demolition, deportation or the martyrdom of a relative or friend.
Deputy Director of Madaa Center, Sahar Al Abbasi, said: “The children who have experienced harsh domestic imprisonment feel that their parents have become their jailers, which has created a negative relationship between sons and their parents. As well as children who have been arrested lose confidence in their parents when they fail to prevent the arrest that took place before their eyes, which creates in some people a state of emptiness and surrender. The aim of these courses is to restore the son's confidence in his family and in himself.”
Open days in Silwan and the Old City
Madaa Creative Center - Silwan held three open days in its two branches Wadi Hilweh and Batn Al Hawa in Silwan, as well as in the Old City of Jerusalem, where dozens of children and parents participated.
The deputy director of Madaa center, Sahar Abbasi said: “The open days have received a lot of interaction, appeal and appreciation by the audience. It was remarkable that the parents were enthusiastic about this type of activity, especially the fathers. There were remarkable competitions and contests between the children and the parents. The open days included several activities, such as face painting and Dabkeh performances for the beginner and advanced groups at Madaa Center which formed as support for these groups”.
Abbasi added: “One of the most important goals of these open days was: to offer an area to unwind for children, young people, and their families, especially under the pressure they are exposed to in terms of the lack of places to play in, and the harassments by the settlers, especially in Batn Al Hawa area. As for the purpose of the open day being in more than one area, it was in order to give a chance to the largest possible number of children to benefit from the activities provided by the Center”.
In a related context, In cooperation with the Palestinian Center for Guidance, Madaa Center- Silwan organized an open day for women, in which about 100 women participated. This day was to conclude a series of women's events and to honor women in the month of March on the occasions of Women's Day and Mother's Day.
The deputy director of Madaa, Sahar Abbasi said: “The Open Day included many corners, some of these corners were: a corner where women watched a movie and had a discussion about it, another corner to learn and identify rights, as well as a corner for handmade crafts; the open day was concluded at the Hakawatiya station, which was a corner that ran a series of influential stories that motivate women to cope with difficult circumstances, and teach them that the impossible does not exist. In addition, the staff distributed symbolic gifts to the women, which were mugs that had the Madaa logo printed on them and were filled with chocolates.”
Abbasi added: “The responses of the women and their evaluation of the open day were completely positive. After the day was over, we received many thank you letters. We also met new women who came to the open day and joined Madaa's event for women and learned about the activities that we offer them.”
Tours for children, women and youth
The Cultural Department at Madaa Creative Center - Silwan organized a children's tour to the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem as part of the religious culture program.
The teacher of religious education at Madaa Center, Inaam Siam said: “Whenever I had the opportunity, I would take my students from the Quran recitation classes to religious and entertainment tours to the Holy Aqsa Mosque, to acquaint them with its importance of being the first direction of prayer for Muslims and the third of holy mosques after the Kaaba and the Prophet's Mosque.
Siam added: “We organized a different tour today; the children visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Mosque of Omar with an explanation of the opening of Jerusalem and the treaty of Omar. Then we visited Al-Aqsa Mosque and had a group breakfast for the children. We also visited the Mosque of Al-Buraq and prayed noon prayer (Dhuhur prayer) in the Dome of the Rock, and visited the Islamic Museum and other landmarks. Then we enjoyed sitting in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, it was a very special day, during which children spent meaningful and enjoyable hours in the most prominent religious places in Jerusalem”.
The department organized a tour for the youth to Wadi al-Qatlab and the village of Deir al-Sheikh in Jerusalem, where they learned about the reality of the destroyed villages and the nature of life in these villages before people were exiled.
The young adults accompanied the tourist guide, Khalil Sabri, who told them about the village that was occupied in the year 1948, it has an area of approximately 8 acres, and it had a population of 225 people when it was occupied. The village got its name after the house of Sultan Badr, owner of the shrine located in the village. The guide also informed them on the village’s economic and agricultural life before the occupation. The youngsters visited the Mosque of Sultan Badr, which is the most important landmarks of the village where there is a large shrine for the Sultan and a big tomb for his family.
The social researcher at Madaa Center, Hanan Salim who accompanied the youngsters on the trip said: “The importance of the tour lies in educating and giving awareness to the youth about the landmarks and villages of their occupied country and establishing in their hearts the right to return”. Part of the tour was a walking path that lasted nearly four hours continuously, and then a lunch break, where the youth set a fire and prepared their meal.”
Salim added: “At the end, the youngsters evaluated the tour, and their views were positive. They appreciated the trip and agreed that the information they learned in the tour was new to them. Most of them did not even know that this village exists.”
As part of the cultural and recreational activities organized by Madaa Center - Silwan, twenty women participated in a tour to the Holy Aqsa Mosque.
They went walking by foot to Al-Aqsa Mosque, where Silwan is the most adhering to the south-eastern side adjacent to the mosque. The tour included a meeting with the Female preacher Shiha in which she talked about the importance of the status of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the importance of prayer in it, and then the women had breakfast together.
Within the activities of Madaa library, the Cultural Department at Madaa-Silwan recently opened a reading club for women. The librarian at Madaa library, Tala Sarhan, said: “The Reading Club aims to encourage women to read in various fields of life and culture; the reading club includes a range of cultural and leisure activities besides reading, and encourages mothers to read stories to their children, where later there will be circle readings between the children and their mothers. The participants were very eager to read, especially since many of them had not read for a long time”.
The Cultural Department also opened a women's computer course, which aims to teach women the basics of computer use. Sarhan said: “Many women cannot use it or help their children use it, and the course will be divided into beginner and advanced groups according to the levels of the participants.”
Handmade Products Exhibition
At the Mount of Olives Club in the village of Al Tur, the women of Madaa participated in the Mother's Day handicrafts exhibition, in partnership with the Women's Center at Al Tur.
The deputy director of Madaa center, Sahar Abbasi, said: “The women of Madaa participated in a collection of handicrafts that they learned and made during the courses offered by the center, such as embroidery, accessories, perfumed soap, traditional foods and sweets.”
Abbasi added: “The aim of participating in this exhibition is to honor women and motivate them to continue working in handicrafts, especially after displaying and selling their products to the guests who attended the celebration. The exhibition was an opportunity for people to see the products that Madaa women create.”
Celebrating Mother’s Day
Children at Madaa Center celebrated mother’s day by preparing gifts for their mothers. At the main branch of the center, Wadi Hilweh - Silwan, the staff organized several activities on the occasion of Mother's Day. Coordinator Hanadi Abbasi said: “We devoted the art class for making special frames for mother's day using wood, butterflies and ribbons; each child was creative in decorating the wooden frame s/he made for their mothers as a gift to her, and each child talked about how the gift would be presented to his/her mother.”
At Madaa Center Ein Al Loza –Silwan branch, the staff organized several activities on the occasion of Mother's Day. Coordinator Abeer Abbasi said: “Every child spoke about their mother and made greeting cards for her. The purpose of these Mother's Day activities is to enlighten children of the importance of respecting and appreciating their mother, the importance of her role in the family, and to provide children with the values of righteousness and loyalty to their parents.”
At Batn Al Hawa -Silwan branch, coordinator Nemati Sanad said: “Each child created a greeting card for their mother and decorated it with flowers; they wrote their own sayings and words on each one. The children chanted songs for mothers, then painted pictures of mothers and wrote words expressing their feelings towards her. The children gave a dance performance, and performed poetry.”