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Ramallah Fun Run Raises Awareness for Palestinian Children

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By PM collaborators - September 24, 2016
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Section: [Main News] [Videos] [In Pictures] [Features]
Tags: [Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)] [Mustafa Bargouthi] [child arrests]


Video of the Fun Run - Lost Childhood campaign

 


On September 23, the Palestine Medical Relief Society (PMRS) hosted a fun run for children as part of its Lost Childhood campaign, with the support of Right To Movement, Ramallah.

More than 400 children, aged 5-14, were bussed into Ramallah from all over the West Bank, including several refugee camps. The event led the children from the starting point at Sarayat Ramallah, a local community centre, through the neighbourhood of al-Tireh, before ending at Nelson Mandela Square.

Pop music, blared from loud speakers, helped inspire them for the competition ahead. Local police and ambulances were on standby in case of any emergency. But the main challenge the children faced was being squirted by water pistols, gleefully fired by volunteers along the route.

Festivities continued after the race. Some of the children showed off their acrobatic skills, while others danced to traditional Palestinian music. A clown roamed around taking photos with the kids.

The highlight for many was the medal ceremony, though it quickly devolved into a scrum as children tried desperately to claim their prize. Finally, the children queued for a big scoop of ice cream.

The Lost Childhood campaign aims to raise awareness about the difficulties Palestinian children face under the Israeli occupation.
Asked by Palestine Monitor why the run had been organised, Dr Mustafa Barghouthi, the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, stated that it was to remind the world about the “Palestinian children [who] have lost their childhood because of violence and occupation.”

“This is an activity to remind the world that Palestinian children need safety, and need to have a normal childhood like everybody else. This enthusiasm of participation shows you how hungry Palestinian children are for peace and a normal childhood,” he added.

Ralph-Joseph Tarraf, Head of the EU Delegation to the West Bank and Gaza, also attended the event. Talking to Palestine Monitor, he emphasised the “importance of running these events, especially because of the prevailing conditions in Palestine.”

“Children are Palestine’s future and they need the space to express themselves; to feel that they belong to a larger community.”

Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP) has noted that Palestinian children face violence in a number of different forms, including “physical violence, psychological violence, [and] discrimination.” DCIP reported that over 1,800 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel since 2000. Every year, moreover, between 500-700 Palestinian children are arrested and imprisoned by the Israeli army.

For her part, Tana, one of the competitors, was pleased with the day’s events. “This was a very interesting day and I am happy to have done it,” she said.


Photo credit : Cynthia Wang

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