Photography Workshop in Faquaa

On Tuesday March 20th Saja, Aeman, and Manar, students from the photography workshop went to the local village of Faquaa to give a photography lesson to local children, providing them with the tools necessary to document their experience as it pertains to water. Additionally a group of children from Gaza were selected to photograph the water issues they face in their daily lives.

The photography students met with the children in the local meeting center where Saja led a lesson on photography with the help of Aeman and Manar. This was the children’s first time using an actual digital camera as opposed to a camera phone. The students learned the basics of how a camera works, how to compose a photograph, and photographic elements they should keep in mind when taking pictures, such as changing perspective, getting close up to their subjects etc.

The students and their group then went out to explore the village of Faquaa, a village in northern Occupied Palestine, where residents are denied access to water resources that irrigate the lush fields of Israel which lay on the other side of the dividing fence. This is the fence that the Israelis put up in order to confiscate the land and water resources of Faquaa. The name of the village, Faquaa, means spring water bubbles in Arabic, but access to water here disappeared long ago.

The children, acting as hosts took our photography students around to show them some of the ways that they have adapted to the water shortage such as using containers and large plastic tarps to collect rain water. At the edge of the village, next to many homes lays the Israeli constructed separation fence. It is a thick mass of razor wire armed with motion sensors that detects if anyone gets too close. There is a road on the Israel side that sits next to the fence. The children are afraid to get too close to it as they are afraid of the soldiers “Jaish” coming.

The children of Faquaa explained that there are underground wells on the israeli side that are not being used, wells that at one point the residents of Faquaa had access to. They said that the lack of clean water has contributed to many being very ill as they showed us the murky brown water the people in the village collect and  that getting fresh water brought into the village is very expensive.

Photographs were taken of the well that holds the rain water, giant drums of dirty water that are used for drinking, washing dishes, and bathing, the tarp they put on the ground to collect the rain water for the well, and the daunting fence that separates them from the lush and green fields of Israel. Dr. Farha, one of the thousands of Palestinian community leaders using non-violent, popular struggle to oppose the illegal apartheid policies of Israel said that it is the most unbelievable sight in the summer when their land is dry and brown from lack of water, and on the Israel side, sprinklers are sticking out of the ground showering the land keeping it green and fertile. “The contrast is just amazing.” he says.

On April 12th each group will present their photos to each other, via video conference, that best represent some of the water related challeneges they continue to face in their respected communities. This event will be hosted by the Qattan Centre, which is a division of the Qattan Foundation, a UK charity organization working towards the development of culture and education, with a particular focus on children, teachers and young artists. The Freedom Bus will be part of the conference and performing at the event. For more information about Palestinian water and sanitation please visit Thirsting For Justice.

Saja sits with one of the local girls in Faquaa.

Collected water for home use

Aeman walking with the local kids in Faquaa

Homes in Faquaa overlook the lush green fields that Israel has separated them from

The fence that the Israelis put up in order to confiscate the lands and water resources of Faquaa.

Kids standing in front of the fence that the Israelis put up in order to confiscate the lands and water resources of Faquaa.

The residents of Faquaa collect rain water for their wells by using plastic

Saja, Aeman, and Manar walking with the local kids in Faquaa after an afternoon taking photographs

Kids in Faquaa playing with a well

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Demonstration in Solidarity with Hana Shalabi

The girls in the photography workshop organized a demonstration in Jenin in support for the immediate release of Hana Shalabi, a 29 year old woman from Burqin who has been on a hunger strike since February 16th in protest of her detention. On Saturday March 10th at noon the girls headed to Jenin city with the signs they made that morning and flyers filled with information on how others can help support Hana. Instead of letting the low turn out of the demonstration in Jenin get them down, they decided to take the demonstration to Hana’s home in Burqin, where the girls met with Hana’s family, took photographs, and showed their support for Hana and her family. Hana is in her 26th day of her hunger strike and her parents in support of their daughter have been on hunger strike for two and a half weeks.

They will be organizing another demonstration next week in Jenin. For more information on how you can help Hana please visit the sites below:

http://freehana.org/

http://addameer.org/etemplate.php?id=161

The girls sit in solidarity with Hana.

Posters to show support for Hana line the street outside of her home in Burqin.

Hana's sister holds photos of both her sister, Hana, and their brother who was killed by the army in 2005.

Hana's niece and nephew. Photo by Deena

Hana's brother stands at the gate of the garden at her home in Burqin.

Hana's niece and nephew at her home in Burqin. Photo by Deena

Boys from Burqin protest Hana's detention. Photo by Iman

Friday Children’s Workshop

Every Friday the theatre hosts workshops for children in the camp. The workshops include art, theatre, dance, and film. During last Friday’s workshop the kids had the chance to learn how to paint with watercolors using paintbrushes and straws and practice their dancing skills in the theatre. Check out some of the photos below.

Upcoming Playback Performances

The Freedom Theatre in partnership with Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Society presents: STORIES FROM AIDA CAMP

Tuesday March 6th, 3:30pm – 5:00pm
Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Society, Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem

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The Freedom Theatre in partnership with Hebron Rehabilitation Committee presents: STORIES FROM HEBRON YOUTH

Wednesday March 7th, 11am – 12:30pm
Spanish Academy – Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, Hebron

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During these interactive theatre events we will invite audience members to share autobiographical accounts relating to the key issues of their home communities. We will also hear stories about the various ways that youth and adults are engaging in popular struggle and civil resistance. An ensemble of actors and musicians will use Playback Theatre* to enact these accounts.

These events are part of the lead-up to the Freedom Bus initiative.

*Playback Theatre is an interactive theatre approach used in over 50 countries as a tool for community building, public dialogue, trauma recovery, social activism, and popular education. In a Playback event, audience members share thoughts, feelings, memories and autobiographical accounts, and watch as a team of actors and musicians instantly transform these experiences into improvised theatre pieces.

For more information, please email freedombus@thefreedomtheatre.org or contact Ben Rivers on +972(0)592-902256 / +972(0)544-930542 or Faisal Abu Alheja on +972(0)599649008

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