About the Lifemakers Project
The main objective of the Lifemakers Project is to give children a safe place to play and to educate and help children overcome trauma. We provide activities for children such as handicrafts, painting, reading, English lessons, games, and field trips. At the Lifemakers Center, we started working with 40 children in 2004, and by 2006 we regularly work with more than 300 children.
At the center volunteers from Rafah, Gaza Strip (students or postgraduates) teach and play with the children who are between 7 and 17 year old. Generally we divide our three hours sessions into three parts: an hour of English lessons, an hour of play, singing and dancing, and an hour of discussing the childrens lives and problems.
- Encourages children with their hobbies such as drawing, acting, and learning English;
- Gives children a chance to enjoy their childhood;
- Help the children rebuild their destroyed dreams;
- Open new windows to a good future for us and for our children;
- Challenge unemployment.
Most of the children come from the Hi Salam and El Brazil border area. The
majority have had their homes bulldozed and now live with relatives. Their families are too poor to move further away from the border area. Many of the children have witnessed violence first hand. Some have seen relatives killed, their homes demolished, or have been injured themselves.Lifemaker Project Staff & Center
It is clear that the children here in Gaza are deeply traumatized after years of conflict. Our wish is to help these children to the best of their ability, to create a bit of normalicy for them, and to provide a facility where they can come and play in a supervised and safe area. The Lifemakers Project will help them forget for a while the tanks, bulldozers, and soldiers they can see from their homes.
We welcome any professional training to assist us in doing a better job helping the children to deal with their sadness, anger, depression, and fear. For now, we do our best by giving them attention, affection and security. At mainstream school, they find it hard to concentrate because their minds are on what is happening outside and learning is not their priority. The children like the Lifemakers Center because there is no pressure, no exams, and it is fun atmosphere.
The Center is officially open 7 hours a day and most of the children come every day. We never turn children away. We would like to extend the Center's hours of operations to help other children, especially younger ones, however, we have not been able to afford the operating costs this would incur.Costs
The Lifemaker Project charge 5 shekels (about $1 US) a month for the children to attend our center. However, many of the parents cannot afford even this miniscule expense so project staff members have been using their personal earnings to keep the center open.
We thank all people who have supported our mission. Our thanks to the Middle East Childrens Alliance (MECA) from USA, Sandra Jordan from Ireland, Molly Macllin from USA, ISM New York (Pat, Lysandre, Ann), and the Michigan Peace Team (MPT).