The Winter Camp in Zarqa

Sunday, March 1, 2015 - 13:11

ActionAid ARI supported an initiative by Tashbeek for Sustainable Development & Media, a local Jordanian NGO, in hosting a recreational camp that lasted a week in Zarqa, Jordan. The Winter Camp, was aiming to create activities for children in the city of Zarqa and emphasized on combining the student bodies of both Syrian refugees and the local Jordanians. The camp concluded on 29 January, 2015 in an event that took place in King Abdullah II Convention Centre in Zarqa. The camp’s demographic registered at 50 per cent of the participants holding a Syrian nationality, with a 60 per cent segment of females.

ActionAid funded the project in an attempt to bridge the largest minority demographic with that of the local host, something that Majdi Hamdan, Executive Director of Tashbeek commented on as “successful”. The camp lasted for a week in which many activities were performed to enable the children in the camp to connect with their peers and function on a higher level of interaction. Amongst the activities produced was an interactive theatre which was voted by many of the participating children as the most interesting and perhaps the most educational tool they’ve played a part in.

Interactive theatre is a presentational or theatrical form or work that breaks the "fourth wall" that traditionally separates the performer from the audience both physically and verbally. In the instance of the winter camp, the participants, in this case the children, affected the outcome of the plot. Interactive theatre is a great asset at psychosocial therapy and a strong tool in empowering children.

Raed Haddadin, the Music teacher in the winter camp, commented on the results, “It’s actually magnificent, the majority of our students are females, many of whom come from a conservative background. They went from being uncomfortable talking to their male counterparts to performing with them on stage.” He added, “The amount of progress we witnessed in a week was magnificent, imagine the amount of progress we could do to these children and their lives in a month- this programme must be repeated.”

“Have you seen these kids, they’re crazy about it, I’m willing to swear this the first thing they’ve experienced an environment where they felt capable of influencing their communities and their surroundings,” he added.

“I think my favourite activity was the interactive theatre, have you seen it?” Said Hanan, a 13-year-old Jordanian girl from Zarqa. “The interactive theatre really taught me a lot. I really learnt how to stand up in front of an audience and learnt how to share things with others, I never knew that part about myself.” Hanan later added, “I made a lot of friends in the camp, and I learnt a large number of skills that I will be working on developing. I can’t wait until next time.”