Just.Childhood Programs


There is emerging evidence that violence experienced early in life can have a long-lasting detrimental impact on health, life skills, competencies, attitudes and beliefs. Research has shown that besides creating child-friendly spaces through kindergartens and schools, the way parents deal with their children is the single most important thing to child development. Consequently a child-friendly and safe family/home situation is crucial for healthy development.

In Shatila parents live (and grew up themselves) under difficult circumstances; in poverty, with high unemployment, suffering from (inherited) trauma and due to the camp’s overpopulation experiencing little to no privacy, even at home. There’s a lack of safe spaces for women and girls where they can express themselves freely, develop friendships, social networks and engage with mentors to seek advice from a supportive environment. Parents in general are stressed, overwhelmed and have no mental space to fulfill their important role in child development.

Based on the above, there was a need to start a parent-focused project, to work towards the home as a safe space for children and parents alike.


Dropping out of school has become a major concern in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

By looking towards developing an intervention plan to address the high rate of early school dropouts, one of the measures, providing a high quality, universal pre-school and full-day kindergarten was already implemented with our Waldorf kindergarten project Bait al-Shams. Also, with our Parent program, we are involving the community and families in the children’s learning.

With our afternoon program we are supporting our overall Early Childhood Education project by reaching out to the children who have left our kindergarten for school and therefore extend the support to them and their families, but also to other children their age. In modern understanding of teaching it is quite known by now that a holistic approach to education, learning in movement, emotionalized and activity-oriented learning, learning without pressure and fear, rituals etc are necessary for a sustainable learning an education success.

Research about the education system in the camps suggests that there is a lack of emotional, social and cultural competencies in kindergartens and later at school. Therefore our concept aims at strengthening emotional intelligence, empathy, and the focus on social-artistic competencies. When developing the concept, the child and its age and developmental needs were always in the center of the educational practice. Cognitive subjects, artistic-musical subjects as well as technical-practical classes are stimulating the individual education process of the child. The versatility of the learning offers is supporting the development of the personality and gives space for character development through the practicing of responsibilities, reliability, independence and the behavior in a group. A main aim is to preserve the children’s natural joy of learning. Every child needs to be taken care of, challenged and supported according to its individual needs and talents.

Our afternoon program runs from Monday to Thursday between 2 and 5pm. The children have time to play, practice their art skills and creativity and work on their homework. They are being encouraged to work in groups and to support each other and rely less on adult help. The aim is for them to develop confidence and to be able to master their homework independently later on. So far, there are two teachers responsible for the program.


There is an urgent need for outdoor space and purposeful activities targeting children and youth in the camps.

Children and youth usually spend their free time in the narrow alleys of the camp looking for entertainment opportunities, which negatively affects their physical and mental health. What is also unfortunate is the absence of designated public spaces, which are open to all at all times.
The skate park in Horesh Beirut was built from scratch by Make Life Skate Life Association, and currently, we are collaborating with them in providing skateboarding sessions to 60 children from Shatila and Bourj Al Barajneh Camps. In addition to providing the needed physical activities and teaching children and young people the skills to skate, this project aims to enable children and youth to acquire skills and pass them on to others.

It also aims to create a reliable rhythm and relationships between parents and children through the participation of parents who walk with their children to the park, which is located ten minutes away from Shatila camp.

This project has the potential to break the stereotypes about the Palestinian camps and helps integrate children in a proper way outside the camp environment. Children interact with people from different areas and backgrounds. Being part of the skating community gives them a new identity and boosts their self-confidence and they can express themselves through it.
One another important result of this project is the breaking of gender stereotypes and the high participation of girls and young women with the encouragement and support of their parents.

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