The SCC-Ajial was established in 1998 by a group of young people who sought to create a space for Palestinian youth, where they could express and organize themselves without being affiliated with already well-established political parties and groups.
The youth laid down a document entitled “Youngsters between Reality and Ambition” describing the obstacles Palestinian youth in Lebanon were facing at the time.
This document illustrated how the SCC’s vision was directed towards the reality of the Palestinian youths in Lebanon and hence the problems they suffer from. The essence of this document may be summed up by the following quote:
“The problems of the youth start at an early age. Many youth want to pursue learning in order to become skilled and educated, but pursuing higher education requires paying high tuition fees. In addition, lack of job opportunities complicates the problem even further, limiting the possibilities for youth for their futures. The Lebanese laws do not allow the Palestinian refugees to be employed except in hard-labor jobs, such as construction and agriculture."
Due to these circumstances, some of the youth experience a feeling of emptiness when they can neither study nor work. At the time of Ajial’s founding, alternatives were not available since the refugee camps did not contain clubs or educational or recreational centers. Moreover, a state of frustration and despair prevailed. The youth are part of the Palestinian people who are frequently disappointed and always apprehensive about the unknown future.
After identifying the concerns and obstacles facing the Palestinian youth, a series of workshops was initiated with the aim of shedding light on these issues and clarifying the vision of what was to become Ajial-SCC.
The following is a short description of the history of SCC-Ajial, an overview of how the organization has developed to become the organization you know today.
In 1998 the first workshop took place, raising issues about Palestinian identity and Palestinians’ rights in Lebanon. Thirty-seven young people attended the workshop where the following topics were debated:
-Youth: Problems and Concerns
- Youth, Learning and Work
- Youth and Social Problems
- Institutions for Youth
- Civil and Social Rights
- The Health Environment in the Camps
- UNRWA Offerings
- The Palestinian Reference (PLO) and Its Role
- Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
The workshop and the work that continued throughout the rest of that year laid the foundation for the coming work and focus of SCC- Ajial.
During its formative years, SCC-Ajial worked hard to become recognised as a legal Non-governmental Organisation in Lebanon - a challenging feat, as the Lebanese government deprives Palestinian refugees in Lebanon the right to represent or to own any legal institution in the country.
After a long period of struggle and hard work by a dedicated group of youth, SCC-Ajial was finally established as a legal organisation; an organisation which would work for and with the Palestinian youth in Lebanon, both inside and outside the camps.
During the first years, SCC focused on workshops and topics mainly targeting the young population in the camps. Various workshops, lectures and summer camps were held, shaping SCC-Ajial’s youth approach. Some of the activities that were developed in this initial phase have become the primary supportive pillars of our work, even today.
Throughout the years, the strategies and focus of Ajial has of course changed according to new needs and challenges facing the youth as a result of a changing society both inside and outside of Lebanon. However, the vision of Ajial remains the same: To support the development of a strong and influential youth movement amongst the Palestinian youth in Lebanon.
Listed are some of the most common and successfully working methods within Ajial:
Workshops are organized to deal with a wide array of different topics pertinent to Palestinian youth in Lebanon, such as democracy, problem-solving, human rights, commitment, communication, sense of belonging, understanding and accepting varying opinions, prejudgment, the right to know and question, administering private projects, youth policies, immigration, the art of photography and video-taping, citizenship, marginalization, popular education, adult learning, documentary-making and animation, as well as using other means of expression such as visual and fine arts.
The SCC organized twenty-two of these workshops from 2001 to 2004 and participated in twenty-five other workshops in collaboration with local and international institutions.
Due to the circumstances of the Palestinians, Palestinians are directly affected by the events and the developments taking place both inside Palestine and in the various hosting countries. These are attached to their daily lives and cannot be ignored. Palestinians are exposed to contradicting points of view and information. Therefore, it has always been a crucial part of the SCC-Ajial’s work to provide the youth with lectures that present information and opinions through lectures presented by specialists.
Summer camps have served as a pivotal activity for Ajial’s work and vision. As summer camps allow for new acquaintances to be formed and the building up of social relations among the youth, it is perceived as an important means for supporting a common platform and cooperation among the Palestinian youth, supporting a strong youth awareness and coordination across camps as well as nation-state borders. Ajial continues to organize summer camps every year with different topics and participation from a diverse group of young people.
You can read more about the previous and current projects of Ajial under "Our projects."