A Dedicated Organization

Desert Children

STEP International has been running summer camps for children in the West Bank for several years now. Especially for children in Bedouin settlements, this is an extremely rare and very welcome opportunity to learn, be creative and exercise in the summer months. This year it was possible for IrespectU to support this meaningful project. The video on this page, which STEP made available to us, gives an impression of the enthusiasm with which the participants and the volunteering staff were involved.

I would also like to share with you the very illustrative report by Harm Tees, the Director of STEP International, about this year’s summer camp:

“Volunteers came from as far as Canada, the United States, Australia and Europe to offer their expertise in English language education, arts and crafts, and physical education. Each day the volunteers met at the STEP office in Jerusalem, prepared for the day, and then piled into two vehicles to travel out to the desert and spend the afternoon with more than forty excited and energetic Bedouin children.

The Bedouins – “desert dwellers” in Arabic – live in either shacks constructed with whatever they can find, or more long-term shelters provided by the European Union. The shacks and temporary shelters are spread out in small communities in an immense and barren desert. Each day of the camp, when the volunteers arrived, the children would emerge from their homes and sprint – often barefooted – down the rocky hills to a communal shack, where they’d meet the volunteers with handshakes and hugs to begin the day’s classes and festivities.

The volunteers started every day with an English lesson, then taught a hands-on craft, and then ended the afternoon with games and sports.

The purpose of teaching English, crafts, and sports was to help the children strengthen their language skills, promote creativity through art, and to teach them how to work as a team through sports. The children loved the fun and engaging lessons and activities.

On Thursdays, the volunteers, children and a handful of teenagers from the community traveled to a pool in Birzeit to swim. This was a great opportunity for the volunteers to spend some quality time with the children and teenagers. Many of these children had never been to a pool, or had only been very few times, so this was a very exciting experience for the children.“

Children all over the world want to learn, be creative and have fun playing, even if they grow up in the desert. STEP International gives them the opportunity to do so.

To start the video please click on the white arrow in the center of the second photo from above.

To find out more about STEP International's philosophy and other activities, please visit our website under the heading Projects with Partners or just follow this link.