2020 marked the twentieth year since the creation of the Lajee dream. Despite this relatively short existence Lajee has established itself as a highly respected organization both nationally and internationally through its work. We continually strive to create new projects and offer wider facilities. Through the twenty years of Lajee’s existence our achievements include:
- Purchase, construction, and establishment of new premises for Lajee. The new and current premises which measures 300 square meters were built by local volunteers and became the sole full-time home of Lajee in 2008.
- Establishing and developing an all girls chorus group and a ‘Dabka’ (Palestinian folk dance) troupe comprised of children aged from 10 years old up to 18 and mixed-gender that performs widely and regularly around the area of Palestine referred to as the ‘West Bank’ and that has also toured internationally to popular acclaim in:
- Egypt (2003)
- Syria (2007/2009)
- US (2008/2010/2013)
- UK, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Spain, Holland (2008/2010/2014/2015/2019)
- Establishment of a full-time and sustainable Arts and Media Unit in 2009 which was created with the ongoing support of the HOPING Foundation.
- Organization and practice of two UK cultural tours (2008/2010) showcasing a wide-ranging display of our arts and media work including photography, film, and dance. These tours attracted around 3000 members of the British public to a wide range of public and participatory events.
- Publications of 6 bi-lingual (Arabic/English) books showcasing the work and ideas of our members:
- The Boy and the Wall (first published in 2005 and reprinted 6 times due to popularity)
- Our Eyes (first published in 2008, republished later in 2008 and 2010)
- Dreams of Home (first published in 2008, republished later in 2008 and 2010)
- Flying Home (first published in 2009, republished in 2010)
- Aida Alphabet (published in 2015)
- Palestine in the Eyes of Her Youth (published in 2016)
- Organization and hosting of over 30 international photography exhibitions of our youth photography projects. These exhibitions have been held in 9 countries to date across 4 continents and attracted audiences totaling well over ten thousand people. Highlights of these exhibitions include:
- The ‘Nakba 60’ national tour of Australia (2008)
- Headlining the ‘Art of Resistance’ Palestinian Cultural Festival in Amsterdam (2008)
- The Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2008), Norwegian national Tour (2009)
- French Tour (2010)
- An acclaimed exhibition at the internationally renowned photographic gallery ‘FotoMuseum’ in Antwerp, Belgium (2010)
- Lajee’s cultural work has achieved recognition in several international and national awards including:
- Lajee’s book The Boy and the Wall was awarded the Scout Fuller Award in the U.S. (2008)
- First place in the ‘Al-Awda Awards International Children’s Photography Competition’ (2009 & 2010)
- Lajee’s film The Living Martyrs was awarded joint first place in the ‘Palestinian Prisoners Society Film Awards’ (2009)
- Lajee’s films ‘Ali Wall’ and ‘Between the Fleeting Worlds’ were shortlisted in the international ‘This is Israeli Apartheid’ film competition (2010)
- Established and developed a fulltime Music Institute and Ensemble in 2014. The Music group has travelled and performed at various festivals, community events and travelled abroad with the Dabka troupe, where they showcased their talents.
- Construction and establishment of a Football Field for all children of Aida to enjoy and practice their football skills in 2015. Afterwards, Lajee along with the Celtic Team from Ireland established the Aida Celtic Team in 2019.
- Recognition and Participation of the Lajee Media Unit in the Boston Film Festival by special invitation (2013 and 2015). The films featured were “Everyday Nakba” and “Just a Child”
- Establishing and developing a Health Unit in 2018, which is contributing to the community’s health and education by providing free in-home visits by Lajee’s Community Health Workers to test for Hypertension and Diabetes and educating these individuals on healthy lifestyle and eating habits to avoid future complications and diseases.
- Establishing and developing an Environmental Unit in 2018, which works hand-in-hand with the Health Unit to provide the people of Aida, especially the patients of the Health Unit, education on the importance of water and clean, organic foods. These patients are provided with micro-hydroponic units in which they can grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables to feed their families. Currently there are 70 micro-hydroponic units and rooftop gardens within the Aida Camp, including Lajee’s very own Rooftop and Hydroponic Garden.
- Established in 2018 and opened in 2020 the ACLAI Palestine Gym within Lajee. The Gym provides the people of Aida a space to work with coaches and trainers from Aida for basic movements and flexibility, as well as equipment and special classes such as Yoga classes and exercises for pregnant women in different stages of their pregnancy.
- Establishing and developing a Circus School in 2019 for children between 6-12 years old. The Lajee Circus School has received much recognition world-wide from other Circus Schools and organizations to work with them and train children from different areas within Palestine.
- Establishing and developing a Kindergarten and Preschool for the children of Aida and Al-Azza camps in 2020 with the support of Lajee’s partner 1for3. The Kindergarten and Preschool, located within the Lajee Center, opened enrollment and is currently operating since August 2021.
Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Ministry of Interior
Charitable Society/ Charitable Body
The ministry of Interior certifies that the society of Lajee Center, active in Bethlehem area/Aida Camp, has been registered in the authorized departments according to the law of the national bodies number 6/ 2001 on Monday 12/11/2001, in the northern governorates region under temporarily registration.
Mohammed Lutfi Yasin.
General Director of ministry of Interior/ West Bank