Palestinian refugee children's visit to Oxford 25 June to 6 July 2020 POSTPONED TO 2021

Background

On a recent self-funded visit to Ramallah, ORFA members were invited to visit an UNRWA school which was keen to make links with an Oxford school. Ein Arek School is funded by UNRWA and has limited resources; many of the children have experienced poverty, poor housing, family imprisonments due to political activity and the trauma associated with having families under such stress. We discussed the possibility of a visit by some young Dabke Dancers from the school council, funded and hosted by ORFA.

A visit was planned for the summer of 2020.  Four young Palestinian refugees would visit the UK, with their teachers and school counsellor, to make links with young people in Oxford schools.  During their visit the children from Palestine and Oxford would dance and perform together.

Regrettably, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to postpone the visit, but we are hoping it will take place on 16-23 June 2021.  This will coincide with an exhibition of the Palestinian History Tapestry in Oxford Town Hall.

Agreeing that it was necessary to postpone the visit, our friends in Ramallah sent this message:  

"Good health to you and all our friends in Oxford…we wish you safety for all around the world"

Our aims for the 2021 visit are:

To raise awareness of the situation in Palestine. The situation is becoming progressively more difficult due to settlement building, lack of funding for UNRWA, lack of employment and the harsh impact of living under occupation.

To build links with schools in Oxford through participation in this Dance project. One strong link is in place and we will work to link further UNRWA schools in Ramallah and Oxford schools in the future. The children from Palestine and Oxford will dance and perform together.

To share the cultural experience of life in Palestine with young people and dance audiences and dancers in Oxfordshire. The visit will provide an opportunity for young Palestinian refugees to show their creativity and hard work to Oxford school children and wider audiences. We hope the visit will empower these young people to continue with their dancing, motivate them with their English studies and education in general, further develop their self-confidence for the future and reduce their sense of isolation. Dabke is a traditional Palestinian folk dance which is widely performed at weddings and other celebrations in Palestine. It is also popular in Lebanon and Syria.  [Photo: Dabke dancers visit to Oxford in 2018. Read more about the 2018 visit here]

HOW YOU CAN HELP PREPARE FOR THE VISIT IN 2021: