LDP youth led games and teambuilding activities during this spring's MiniFest.
After having such a great MiniFest this past December, we decided to have a second one this spring. For those of you who need a refresher, MiniFest is a special happening for our youngest (and cutest!) Palestinian and Israeli Kids. In December, the MiniFest boasted a holiday theme, and this time around the theme was fun, which is an important part of bridging divides, especially for children. And by reaching children as young as six, PPI is helping them grow up with co-existence as a way of life. And a fun way of life at that!
MiniFest's main objective: Having fun while learning to coexist.
And fun it was. Sixty kids ages 6-10 came down to the Hand-in-Hand gym from the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Beit Safafa and Esawiah, the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Katamon and from Ein Rafah and Kibbutz Kiryat Anavim, which are both located just outside Jerusalem. This event was a departure from the usual dribbling and passing of previous activities, with kids getting a chance to let loose on inflatable gymborees. As always, the youth of the Leadership Development Program (LDP) were there, leading team building games designed specifically to take place on the inflated playground.
Bringing it in at the end of practice.
Last year, PPI – ME started working in the town of Ein Rafah, a Muslim community ten minutes outside of Jerusalem, just across the highway from the slightly more famous town of Abu Ghosh. Ein Rafah is a small community, with less than 1,000 residents, 15 of whom are proud PeacePlayers. Ein Rafah was founded in 1934 by the Barhoum family, and today, most of the residents are descendants of the family. Ein Rafah is part of the Mateh Yehudah Regional Council. If that name sounds familiar to you, it’s because PPI – ME also has teams in other towns in the regional council.
Although these kids are learning a lot, basketball is also all about having fun.
Our team in Ein Rafah is made up of 15 kids (nine girls and six boys) between the ages of six and eight. These “Minis” twin with a team from Kibbutz Kiryat Anavim, also a part of Mateh Yehudah. The Ein Rafah team is coached by participant turned coach Khaled, who received his coaches’ certification last as a part of the Professional Development Program. The kids really love coming to practice twice a week, and they will get to attend their first twinning of the year later this month. In addition to regular practices and Twinnings, the Ein Rafah kids will also get to take part in wider Minis events, such as the holiday-themed Mini-Fest Winter Tournament, which will take place later on this month.
This team was established as part of a program expansion that was made possible by the three-year cooperative agreement with USAID, which we began in 2010. Thanks to USAID, we were able to expand our reach in East and West Jerusalem, Jaffa and other locales.