Denmark summercamps

Annualy Karama organizes a trip to Denmark during the summermonths, which counts as our main cultural exchange project. A group of about 10 Palestinian teenagers participates in this summercamp every year, together with a group of Danish teenagers. Besides gaining beautiful experiences, learning and enjoying, the Karama teenagers are held responsible to represent Palestine well. The preparation for these trips usually lasts months, during which we select the children according to their engagement and responsibility in Karama as well as their potential for future leadership. Our teenagers themselves also prepare well for the camp, by setting up and practicing activities to show the public in Denmark. Usually they learn the traditional Dabka dance, and they prepare speeches about their life under occupation.

Read more about our 2010 summercamp below.

Denmark summercamp 2010

Again, during the summer of 2010, a group of eight teenagers was lucky to participate in a trip to Denmark. During the preparations in Palestine, they had to cope with some organizational setbacks, but in the end, all visas and tickets were there. In the centre of Karama the teenagers had worked for hours on a Dabka dancing routine and Ahmed made his own presentation for the first time, using some of his own pictures.

After a long journey, they finally arrived in Denmark were Annica Mårtensson was waiting for them, who did again a great job in organizing this trip. The group was welcomed in different schools in Denmark, starting with the Bustrup School which also had been a wonderful host during earlier trips. After a few days they went to the school centre Tvind. In both places they met with other youngsters and participated in sport and recreational activities. Although the visit was in time of holiday, there were always children and teachers around who were excited to do activities with the Palestinian teenagers.

The children were amazed by the spaciousness of the country and they enjoyed the beauty of the forest, the beach and the different lakes and shores. They had relaxing times at the beach and even experienced one night of camping in the outdoors. The teenagers were very enthusiastic about this experience and had an amazing night, which they will remember for a long time. Some of the boys even sneaked out of the wooden shelters we slept in, to sleep for a few hours close to the sea! In every new place they visited, the group would like to make long walks, because they would step into new settings they never witnessed before. And the teenagers realized they had no certainty at all if they would ever be able to see this again.

At the different locations, they gave presentations about their life in Deheishe Refugee Camp and showed their traditional Dabka dance. Ahmed, one of the boys, gave a photo-presentation and explained about this life in Deheishe Refugee Camp. Although he had to admit he was a little nervous before every presentation, Ahmed told his story with confidence because he felt it is very important that the people in Denmark hear our stories. The people were amazed to hear all the things that he experienced in his young life, and they showed great interest in the presentation. Those presentations really challenged the teenagers from Palestine to perform before public and to be open for questions about their life.

One very special location they visit was a neighborhood in Denmark, were they met with families who originally came from Palestine, but fled to Denmark. Most members from this tight community had never been in Palestine, because they had to flee to Lebanon and later got the opportunity to go to Denmark. But the connection they felt with Palestine was obviously visible in ever generation, from the older parents to the young children. The group stayed for two nights in host families and had activities together during the day. It was very special for the group to experience such a warm welcome in Arabic families, so many miles from home. When the group arrived, the kids who lived in Denmark started to show Dabka dancing, which was quickly joined by Lamees and Banan from Palestine. Then everybody introduced themselves and the children from Denmark could tell from which Palestinian villages they originally come from; all in fluent Arabic! This was amazing to hear for the whole group from Palestine and they found themselves caught in different emotions. They were very happy to meet this people and enjoyed that there was no language barrier between them and the families. They could converse in the Arabic language with the people here, so the teenagers took this opportunity and talked a lot about life in Palestine and other interests. However, as Yara and Dalia later clearly explained, they also felt the pain of having to meet in Denmark and not in the home country of both, Palestine. They would rather have met in the land they were forced out, so this visit also made them again aware of their difficult situation.

With relaxing activities like a visit to a park, they shared two special days together. The presentation evening that they organized in this neighborhood, was unique because the local Dabka-group performed together with the teenagers from Palestine. For the Palestine group it was very important to meet those families because it made them more aware of the connection between Palestinian people all over the world. They noticed that they felt connected with these people because of the shared wish for a return to their homes in Palestine, and the common love for the music, dance and language of the Palestinian people.

Other special places the group visited during their stay include Copenhagen. Here they visited Freetown Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood in the city, where they witnessed an extreme example of freedom, which is in dark contrast with the situation they know in Palestine.  They also went to an amusement park in Denmark were everybody enjoyed the big rollercoaster. Shady thought that one trip with this rollercoaster was enough, but the rest of the teenagers went for another and another round. On their last day, the group made a short trip to neighboring country Sweden. Here they walked around in the shopping centre and played bowling, which everybody really enjoyed, even Ramsi in the end, who was a little hesitating in the beginning.

All those activities together made up a wonderful trip for both the Palestinian teenagers, and the people in Denmark. They saw and experienced a different society with its joys and freedoms, but also its problems and these impressions will stay with them for the rest of their live. It is sure that this program will add to their personality, and will help them to participate with new energy and initiative in Palestinian society.

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