Page last updated at 16:04 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 17:04 UK

Sumoud children's centre


The Sumoud children's centre was founded as an orphanage after the 1976 massacre at Tal al-Zaatar Palestinian refugee camp by Christian militias early in the Lebanese civil war.

The centre has evolved as a thriving non-governmental organisation for social work and development, facilitating sponsorship schemes for children in the camp as well as providing certain amenities.

Mariam Masri, 14, sings a patriotic song

Projects include a free dentistry clinic, a kindergarten, a children's play area, remedial classes, vocational training, Palestinian folklore and handicraft groups, drawing classes and cooking with affordable ingredients.

Computer classes are among the most important activities.

Palestinian refugees are barred from dozens of professions in Lebanon, but they can become secretaries to work in offices.

Children who have benefited from financial sponsorship often return as


volunteers at the Sumoud centre.

Some fortunate ones are given grants for Lebanese universities, whose fees (up to $6,000) are far beyond the pocket of most Shatila families.

Dabkeh, traditional Palestinian dancing
13 May 08 |  Video and Audio
Mariam Masri, 14
13 May 08 |  Video and Audio

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