Holy Land Summer Camps offer refuge from pressures of everyday life

Children engaging in recreational activities at the summer camps participating

Friends of the Holy Land (FHL) is an ecumenical Christian charity that has been supporting Christian projects and communities across the Holy Land since its foundation 10 years ago.  FHL work with Christian institutions in Israel, Jordan, West Bank, and Gaza, as well as providing individual emergency support to Christian families from their Bethlehem Office. Over the last 10 years, thanks to the support of Christians in the UK, FHL have raised more than £4.5million for vulnerable Christians in the Holy Land.

For six weeks throughout July and August whilst schools are closed for their annual summer break, summer camps are developing for Christian children at many parishes in the Holy Land. Aside from the ongoing impact on their families of poverty, hardship, isolation, and marginalization, local children face an unusual challenge as they are not able to venture far from home to meet other relatives in their free time due to travel restrictions.

Stuck in their local area and subject to the dangers of influences that are less than peaceful, there is a temptation that “the devil can find work for idle hands”

Activity to counter temptation

Zenit news agency quoted and FHL representative saying that these local Summer Camps are therefore an important activity to counter this temptation and influences. Children from all Christian denominations and the local Muslim community all receive the same warm welcome and unconditional support.

They play together, go on local excursions together, engage in lively discussions and organized activities and get support to help with their studies and develop experience with new disciplines such as music and art. All under the close supervision of the local Parish Priest helped by leaders from the local Christian community to ensure these children build their faith as well as develop healthy friendships.

Friends of the Holy Land has been supporting summer camps each year for several different age ranges of children (primary through secondary) in the Christian communities of Bethlehem, Nablus, Nazareth, and Ramallah. Their success can be seen in the faces of the children.

There are many other Christian communities that FHL could help with more funding. As a rough guide, it costs around £10 per week to keep one child in a summer camp, a bargain when you consider the other activities in which these children could become embroiled or be innocent bystanders, if not off the streets.