Save the Children USA brings fun and laughter to Palestinian children's summer vacation

Jerusalem, 7 July 2005 - Summer vacation is supposed to be a time of fun and games, relaxation and travel. But for Palestinian children there are few opportunities to escape from the stresses of life.

Save the Children USA hopes to change that.

Beginning 10 July 2005, Palestinian children from all over the West Bank and Gaza will participate in Save the Children USA-sponsored summer camps. Through funding from USAID, Save the Children USA will directly fund 354 summer camps in the West Bank and Gaza. In partnership with the National Committee for Summer Camps, Save the Children USA will provide an additional 313 summer camps with the kits and materials to support the implementation of its hallmark psychosocial support group of activities (called CBI or Camp-based Intervention) in 667 summer camps. It is anticipated that approximately 80,000 children will directly benefit from the summer camps.

Children love camp, and Save the Children works hard to support as many camps as possible throughout the country that will have a positive impact for children. Children participating in Save the Children-supported camps say that their favorite activities are: "Playing sports and games, and making crafts out of ordinary materials. And also the CBI activities - it was fun to play with the parachute!" When the children were asked about what they will remember about summer camp a year from now, the replied: "My new friends and all of the fun activities that we shared together."

A key feature of the Save the Children-sponsored summer camps is the Classroom- or Camp-Based Intervention (CBI) sessions. Developed by the Boston Center for Trauma Psychology, the CBI methodology was originally introduced into the West Bank and Gaza in October 2002 under the USAID-funded Community Psychosocial Support Project (CPSP) and then extended under the BINA' project. The CBI methodology is based on a group of activities that helps increase the resiliency and coping mechanisms of children. Since 2002, 185,000 children have directly benefited from CBI interventions.

Save the Children received extremely positive feedback on its implementation of CBI session in previous summer camps. As noted by an external evaluator: "one of the most successful activities that were implemented during the summer camps was the CBI. It had very positive outcomes on the children and it reduced their tension and anxiety. We believe that such a project should continue during the summer camps next year."

In preparation for the summer camps, Save the Children USA conducted a series of training workshops on the Classroom-Based Intervention methodology and animation techniques from approximately 3,690 summer camp leaders throughout the West Bank and Gaza. The evaluation of previous summer camp training workshops concluded that: "the training programs for the summer camps were very good and it developed and enhanced the summer camps leaders' skills, the CBI training was one of the training programs that led to the success of the summer camps this year."

By providing Palestinian children with safe spaces to express themselves and make new friends, Save the Children continues to bring lasting positive change to the lives of children in need.