Here we are!! It is really happening. The inauguration ceremony concluded, the gym is opening its doors to the people of Burj al Shemali camp. Apart from the amazing feat that is the gym itself, this two year building project has brought its own benefits to the camp, providing work for some of the people there. Building, you see, is one of the few types of work that foreigners are allowed to do. Remember that our 4th generation Palestinians born in Lebanon are still considered as such after all these years! The gym is equipped to be used by people of all ages. As well as having a positive impact on people's health, its aim is to transform their social life by providing for the men and for young people a valid alternative to just ‘hanging around” the streets and for women a place to meet away from the home. We will follow the developments with interest.
This is the project to create a gym by extending the association of Al Houlah’s building in Burj al Shemali, where we have already run, in makeshift accommodation, kickboxing for children and self defence courses for women.
The building works, begun in May 2017, are financed by the 0.8 ‰ tax donation of Italian citizens to the Waldensian Evangelical Church. The work is progressing despite interruptions due to the fact that the Lebanese General Security Forces who oversee the checkpoints require the Palestinians to present a permit every time they bring building materials into the camp. This obligation, apart from acting as a constant reminder to the Palestinians that they are not owners of this land, creates other problems However, the Palestinians are patient and progress is satisfactory.