Nothing can beat the smiles of a summer camp experience. Most of us have enjoyed it either personally or through our own kids’ involvement in this traditional summer pasttime.
The kids in this picture, though, have multiple reasons to be excited about their summer camp. They are all part of the African Refugees Development Center (ARDC) program which is providing a summer camp for many of the children of African refugees who reside in the Tel Aviv area. (http://ardc.wordpress.com/) On February 18, 2009 we shared the story of Yohannes Bayu in this diary. Yohannes himself was a political refugee who fled Ethiopia and waited more than five years for the State of Israel to grant him political refugee status. Yohannes’ very personal experiences led him to respond to the plight of the thousands of African refugees who have arrived in Israel over the past few years and he founded the ARDC.
This past spring Israeli lawmakers considered several laws which would have either imprisoned or deported the vast majority of refugees including children, many of whom were born in Israel and know no other country. It was the efforts of ARDC and several other human rights’ groups that placed a temporary halt to this legislation while a more acceptable solution could be found.
With the reprieve came the need to provide some kind of activities for the many, many kids who would otherwise endure the hot Tel Aviv sun with nothing to do. It was here that we stepped in to help when Yohannes wrote that one of his most pressing needs was for funds to enhance the summer camp. We knew that this was something we wanted to do! As Yohannes wrote when he sent this picture…
The program is going fantastic, the kids are so happy, we all are so happy because of the success that we see. Thanks to you. The entire ARDC staff and 15 volunteers who are involved in this summer program are so happy to see such a successful program with the children.
We couldn’t be happier!