Abdelfattah Abdel Karim Abusrour

Ashoka Fellow
,
Fellow Since 2006
Al Rowwad Community Center

Citation

This profile was prepared when Abdelfattah Abdel Karim Abusrour was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Abdelfattah has pinpointed a relationship between non-violence and healthy self-expression among children living in Palestinian refugee camps and developed venues and practices to build “beautiful resistance.” There, children can be separated from the violent and politically charged atmosphere that surrounds them each day. They learn how to use peaceful, cooperative means to release emotions and express their hopes and dreams in an artistic and constructive, rather than violent, manner.

Working from a base in Aida Camp, which is located on a border point—an area of continuous friction between the children and Israeli soldiers—Abdelfattah combats the child soldier phenomenon by creating vocal, empowered, and brave young promoters of non-violent resistance and peace. He is giving the children an opportunity to enjoy their childhood, a basic right many children in the world take for granted. Abdelfattah creates tangible safe spaces for the children of the camp to play and gain skills—providing an alternative to martyrdom and a respite from fear. He believes this freedom of expression will have a profound effect on their future life choices. The children will no longer need to throw stones at Israeli soldiers to show their resistance; they can instead turn their energies toward building a better future.

Through extensive arts programs, job skills training, educational tutoring, and psychological counseling, Abdelfattah’s work includes children, parents and schools. Through educational programs, performances, networking and active partnerships, his idea is expanding. When the political situation improves, he will assist the 19 West Bank and the eight Gaza refugee camps to adopt his work. Abdelfattah intends to extend his activities to neighboring countries with refugee camps and has begun engagement with camp leaders in Lebanon and Jordan. His innovative model of non-violent resistance can be replicated in any area of conflict to secure the rights of children and to help them resist coercion into political conflict.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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