Problems Facing Palestinian Youth in the Camps

20 Sep 2013

Under the patronage of the president of Tyre municipalities and in the presence of popular communities, local & international NGOs, youth activist representatives from three camps: Rashidieh, Borj el Barajeneh and Shatila, Developmental Action without Borders Organization, Nabaa, partners CYC & PWHO and the European Union launched the results from a research project about the problems facing Palestinian youth in the camps. The launch took place in Tyre Culture Center, Basil el Asad Cultural Center on 20th September 2013.  The total number of participants was 108 from local and international NGOs, popular committees and representatives of the Palestinian political faction.
The research was planned and implemented by 150 youth activists in a specific area.  It focused on the problems facing Palestinian youth in Rashidieh, Shatila and Borj el Barajneh camps leading them to drug addiction. The research covered 1,170 youth aged 16-25 years, 120 parents and popular committees. It also studied youth behavior and consequences. The report sets out recommendations for youth to address the problems themselves in order to bring about social change. The research provided the raw material for the rest of the project and all actions taken were on the basis of results from this report. 
The main findings focused on the causes that push youth to addiction:
•    Social and economic problems in the camp that cause their psychological situation to deteriorate leading to addiction.
•    An unfriendly environment in schools.
•    Absence of referral system from the youth´s point of views.
•    Negative community attitudes towards the abilities of youth.
The launch included a speech by the representative of the EU in Lebanon Ms. Maria Sanches, in which she expressed the importance of human rights and youth rights and work on controlling drug addiction not only in Lebanon but also in all countries.  In addition she insisted that efforts with youth should include work on polices.  She stressed that the most successful way to limit drug addiction is to include youth in the decision making process.

Ms. Sanches´s speech was followed by a speech by Mr. Abdulatif Issa on behalf of Nabaa Chairman Mr. Qassem Saad.  He began by highlighting the social and economic situation limiting youth participation in decision-making.  He added that Nabaa has a vision -  “Those who invest in Youth, Build the Future”.  Based on this vision, Nabaa has developed a strategy to empower youth, uphold their rights and encourage them to work on peace initiatives to protect youth and local communities. 
The youth activists presented their views through a sketch where they talked about their violated rights, their difficult situation and how they it affected them negatively. The children talked about the harsh situation of being a refugee and the communities´ attitudes towards their situation.