Mobile cinema brings joy to children in Gaza refugee camps

GAZA (XINHUA) – Around 150 children sat on the floor at Nuseirat Refugee Camp, in central Gaza Strip to watch a cartoon movie screened on a large white screen.

It is part of a project, called ‘Cinema in the Camp’, launched by local volunteers to offer access to movies for children who never go to a cinema theatre in the impoverished Gaza Strip. The mobile cinema moves among five main Gaza refugee camps. Lidawi, a 39-year-old activist, said many children in the Gaza Strip turn to smart cellphones of their parents for so many hours for entertainment, which may negatively affect their physical and psychological health.

Mohammad al-Najjar, nine, who came to watch the cartoon film with his father and sister, said he felt very happy. “It’s my first time that I watch a cartoon film screened on a large cinema screen. I always watched films on television at home,” he told Xinhua. He also said that he used to spend many hours using his father’s smartphone watching films. “This has kept me away from meeting and playing with my friends. But now I can do both, watch a film and meet and play with my friends,” said the boy.

The boy’s father Tamer al-Najjar, 35, told Xinhua that he likes the idea of bringing his three children to the cinema in the camp to let them meet new friends and have fun. Jabber Thabet, an organiser of the project, told Xinhua that children in Gaza refugee camps lack psychological care due to high rates of poverty and unemployment in the area. “Therefore, we decided to hold the activities to enable the children to entertain and teach children the basic social values,” said Thabet.

Gaza has been placed under a tight Israeli blockade since the Islamic Hamas movement seized the territory by force after routing forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

Palestinian children watch a cartoon on a large white screen set up at Nuseirat Refugee Camp. PHOTO: XINHUA