Fishing with Fawzi in a Palestinian refugee camp
16 year old Fawzi and his family are Palestinian refugees living on
the southern coast of Lebanon. His family is originally from Dayr Al-Qassi, a
Palestinian village that was located on a rocky hill just north of Acre, known
for its surrounding fig trees, olive trees and arable land. In 1949 during the Nakba,
the village was destroyed, and the majority of the population was forced to flee to
Many refugees from Dayr Al-Qassi fled to Lebanon’s Al Rashidieh
refugee camp. Life in the camp for its residents hasn’t been easy over the
years. Between 1982 and 1987 it was heavily affected by the Lebanese civil war,
causing the displacement of 5,000 refugees. Now the camp has over 30,000
registered refugees and living conditions are desperately poor.
It was this camp that Fawzi’s family fled to, and sixteen years ago,
Fawzi was born.
When Fawzi was 12 months old he was diagnosed with epilepsy. His
parents were advised to follow a medical plan to help him, with his
prescriptions costing up to $60 every month. His father knew that it would be a
struggle to keep up with medical costs. Working as a fisherman, his profits are
entirely dependent on the weather.
At six years old Fawzi was removed from school, because teachers
were finding it difficult to cope with his epilepsy. His family therefore
enrolled him at the Nabil Badran Centre for disabled children, where he still
studies today. Interpal supports the
Nabil Badran Centre and contributes towards Fawzi’s tuition fees.
Our Lebanon Field Office staff visited Fawzi recently, and asked him
to tell us more about himself. This is what he said:
“My day starts at 6.30am. I wake up and eat my breakfast with my
family and get ready to catch the bus to school. My best friends are Ali, Samah
and Umah. My favourite subject is I.T. I have learned how to type and how to
save what I have typed. My favourite food is grilled chicken and boiled maze”
What Fawzi forgot to mention is that he is also brilliant at
fishing. He lives ten minutes away from the seashore, and influenced by his
fisherman father, he’s now obsessed with swimming and catching fish.
That’s why our Lebanon
Field Office staff went to the beach with him on their recent
visit. Before leaving, he hurriedly went to the fridge and took out some dough.
It was prepared at home and is used to catch fish easily. He grabbed his fishing rod (which
he made himself from a sugar cane) and a plastic water container, which he
fashioned into a bucket for his catches.
It’s easy to see from these pictures that Fawzi was in his element.
Despite the continued hardship that Palestinian refugees like Fawzi face, his positivity, ingenuity and imagination are inspirational.
Interpal continues to support Fawzi through its sponsorship programme,
if you would like to sponsor a child yourself, give us a call on 020 8961 9993 or www.interpal.org.