Travel scholarship 2016

Tadamun is a human rights organisation based in the Netherlands that supports children’s right in the Middle East, with a focus on Palestine. The Lutfia Rabbani Foundation supported Tadamun with a travel scholarship for its action-research visit to Palestine and Israel.  With a team of four creative professionals: Basthios Vloemans (artistic director), Ilse Evers (dancer and artist), Tina Lenz (artistic director and design anthropologist) and Inge Derksen (journalist) Tadamun went on an action-research visit to Palestine from 23-28 February. You can read about their experience down below. 

‘At the end of February 2016 Tadamun, together with a team of volunteers left for a trip to Palestine to research new ways of drawing attention to the rights of Palestinian children. Tadamun was asked to create a campaign that would emphasize the rights of Palestinian children and to make a wide audience aware of these rights and the violations of these rights. Tadamun made an open call for creative spirits to join their trip to Palestine and to help with creating campaigns. In response to this call 4 artistic and independent creatives were selected and invited to join the 5-day trip to Palestine.  There they, together with Mieke Zagt and the DCIP network, spoke to Palestinian children and youth about who they are, where they come from and what they dream of.

The team visited East-Jerusalem, Ramallah, Jalazon refugee camp, Hebron, Nablus and two cities in Israel: Nazareth and Tel Aviv. Unfortunately they were unable to visit Gaza due to difficult obtained permits. Ilse Evers and Inge Derksen opened the workshops and assisted the children in the creative process with the use of their communication and theatre expertise. The children were asked: ‘Who are you?’ ‘ Where do you live and how do your surroundings look?’ ‘ Where do you want to go?’ and ‘What is your dream?’. In every workshop 15-20 children participated. The first workshop, at the refugee camp in Jalazon, had the youngest participants. These children were between the ages of 8-10 years old. The Tadamun team used DCIP translators to communicate with the children. The kids drew their home, their favorite places and afterwards their dream locations.

In Hebron and Nablus the children were older (12-17) and were able to communicate in English. The children were asked to draw a metro network from their home to their favorite place to their dream location. Children often drew the holey places in Jerusalem or Hebron, or the beach in Tel Aviv as desirable places. But some wished to go to Korea or to visit Paris for a break-dance match.  One boy wished to visit his father in prison (he had to cross two check-points first) and drew a sidetrack that ended in one, big hart.

The team of Tadamun also visited Nazareth and Tel Aviv in Israel. There they met a Palestinian-Israeli youth group part of the Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA), a local human rights organization that stands up for Palestinians in Israel. This team also works with design for human rights campaigns. They create catching images for their Arabic speaking supporters. During a brainstorm session the  teams came up with several good ideas for Tadamun’s campaigns, including the ‘Most Wanted’ concept and a film about Rami and July, from Gaza and Jerusalem. In Tel Aviv the team spoke with Eitan and Eleonora Bronstein, of the De-Colonizer. They explain to the Israeli public what colonization really means. Eitan and Eleonora are human rights activists and their work is artistic and inspiring.

During the trip the Tadamun team conducted several short interviews with fathers, mothers en children about the rights of Palestinian children and the life in Palestine under military occupation. You can read one of those interviews, about Baha who was shot at the gates of Jerusalem, on the Facebook page.

The Tadamun team developed several campaign ideas during their trip:

  1. Most wanted series of posters and images
  2. Wall chalk as a gadget for Tadamun (symbolizing writings on the wall)
  3. Car freshener cards as a base for a new series of cards
  4. The description in film and image of the creative process of Tadamun
  5. Arabija cargo bikes, as a carrier of information
  6. A Dutch Most Wanted campaign
  7. Interviews
  8. Articles on international and national digital channels and other media

By starting the conversation with Palestinian children during this trip the team has learned what the impact of the Israeli occupation  is on the Palestinian youth. The ‘shoot to kill’ policy of the Israeli army, the lack of justice and the threats and violence during interrogations, damage the faith of the Palestinian youth. In addition, these kids fear for their own lives and the lives of their family. Together with the children we searched for an outlet in the hopes and dreams of freedom and safety. Tadamun is creating new campaigns in solidarity with the Palestinian children. All volunteers are willing to help Tadamun with this, with the knowledge and enthusiasm gained during our trip.’

Mieke Zagt, director of Tadamun
The original text was shortened and translated