giovedì, luglio 26, 2012


"Junior summer camp" in Baghdad. Teaching, entertainment and unity.

By Baghdadhope*

Although it may seem strange even in Baghdad, a still unpeaceful city  where every day there are acts of violence most of which not even reported in the Western news, Iraqi Christian children can attend a sort of "junior summer camp”.
Promoter of the project involving about 300 boys and girls between 7 and 13 is Father Douglas Al Bazi, the Chaldean parish priest of Mar Eliya the Hiri church.
"During the summer," said the priest to Baghdadhope, "it is necessary to keep the children busy. They are free from school  and often they spend their time  at home because Baghdad is a very dangerous city. Why don’t gather them in the church, a more secure environment than the roads?   
Unlike our summer camp the activities offered by Father Al Bazi to the children are for only one day in a week, on Friday, the Iraqi day-off, but a part form this they are similar.
"By  now  the activities begun on the thirteen of  July  are scheduled until the third of  August but we are already planning of extending them beyond that date" said Father Al Bazi. "Children come to the church at 9.00 am and stay here until 16.00. At 12.30 lunch is provided for all of them."
"We provide courses and entertainment. The courses are catechism, music, English, computers, painting and Aramaic language. Children can enjoy swimming in the outdoor spaces where there are 11 plastic swimming pools of different sizes and depths and can have fun thanks to the entertainers who play with them.”
"These activities follow those that the church already offers during the school  year when children can attend one day per week extra courses in English, computer and Aramaic language, as well as swim when the weather is good. The same courses on other days of the week may also be attended by adults aged from 99 to 0 years, as we say, but in addition to them we offer, and  it is the first time that a church offers this kind of service, driving theory lessons attended  last year by 81 students, mostly women. "
So, many opportunities ...
"In a difficult city like Baghdad every moment of aggregation is useful and every activity can teach something. Every child, for example, learned  how to say his or her name in the language of signs and on the  last week we were visited by some handicapped people. These activities are designed to teach to the children that there are no differences, that the handicapped or who is deaf or dumb or both may and must   integrate into the society.
We believe that in a country like Iraq, where there are thousands of divisions, to teach to respect who is different is crucial for the future citizens and that’s why that other churches joined the project. Not only  Chaldean churches such as the Ascension, St. George, St. Pithion and the Holy Trinity but also that the Assyrian church of the East of St. Mari and the Evangelical Church that sent the groups of entertainers, Happy Team and Smiling Face.
We had further aid from Caritas, that provided half of the shirts and hats designed to divide the children into teams for the tournaments, and the government department responsible for Christians, Yazidis and Mandeans that supplied the swimming pools.”

A project characterized by synergy and unity.
"Working with the other churches, Catholic and not, for the sake of the children is important not only now but also and especially for the future. The communion of hearts and prayer is needed but the union put into practice is essential. In Iraq, Christians are now few and there is no reason for them to be divided. This is what we teach to our children, and we do it by playing because the union will become for them as natural as breathing."  

Fun in the swimming pool
The group named after the martyr Father Waseem Sabeeh
Language of signs

Handicapped people visiting the children

The group named after the martyr Father Thair Sad-alla Abd-al

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