“Every child has the right to an education.” “Children’s education should help them fully develop their personalities, talents and abilities.” “Every child has the right to rest, relax, play and to take part in cultural and creative activities.” These are just some of the articles included in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, approved in 1989 by 140 countries.
However, Palestinian children do not have the opportunity to fully enjoy such rights, which we often take for granted in other parts of the world. Going to school can put refugee children in dangerous situations, as school at times lack safe buildings or the roads towards the schools are dangerously close to busy roads, Israeli settlements or military outposts. Refugee camps also lack safe spaces for children to play, gather and express their feelings and creativity.
So besides accessing quality education, staying in school until 16 years (or more) and making a successful transition from education to the job market, another major challenge for the children is to find outlets for recreation. Especially for children growing up in the refugee camp, what is greatly missing is the chance for children to enjoy recreational activities and free time, ensuring that they are not being exposed to conflict-related violence and armies’ raids. UNICEF has therefore long recommended the creation of more child friendly spaces in refugee camps, in order to give children “a sense of normalcy amid chaos.”