Ibdaa Cultural Center is a grassroots community-based project in the West Bank ‘s Palestinian Dheisheh refugee camp. The name, “Ibdaa,” (ابداع) is translated from Arabic as “creation” or “creative ability”. Since being founded in 1994, the Ibdaa Cultural Center has served more than 1,200 children and young people in the refugee camp.
The mission of Ibdaa Cultural Center is to create a positive atmosphere for children and youth in the refugee camp to assist them in developing competence, creativity and leadership skills through a range of social, cultural and educational activities.
The Ibdaa Cultural Center strives to empower children and instill the secrets and discipline of the Palestinian refugee issue.
Ibdaa strives to empower the children, youth and women in Dheisheh camp, instilling in them confidence and strength while educating the international community about Palestinian refugees.
Through art, dance, music, media, education, and sports, Ibdaa helps children and teenagers to share their experiences and dreams with each other and with people around the world. Every activity at Ibdaa incorporates the values of democratic process and respect for human rights, providing a secular, humanist, and coeducational experience for children, youth, and women.
Ibdaa has become one of the most successful community organizations in Palestine, playing a vital role in the community ‘s survival and vitalization – particularly after the Intifada started – by organizing events, art projects, and emergency activities. Ibdaa’s extraordinary achievement is responsible for the successful integration of grassroots work in Dheisheh and the solidarity work in the international community. Ibdaa’s alliance with activists and organizations around the world goes beyond a traditional relationship based on financial support. Ibdaa has forged a strong relationship with its supporters in the areas of education and advocacy.
Ibdaa currently serves over 1,500 children, youth and women each year and provides income to 70 families in the Dheisheh camp through employment and income generation projects.
A thirty-minute documentary released in 2002 and entitled “The Children of Ibdaa: To Create Something Out of Nothing” focuses on the Ibda Cultural Center’s children’s dance troupe. The children’s performance expresses the history, struggle, and aspirations of the Palestinian people, specifically the right to return to their homeland.
The documentary producer, S. Smith Patrick, interviews the dance troupe’s refugee camp children, ages 10 to 14, to explore the history of displacement in their villages, Palestine, the physical and emotional stress of life in a refugee camp, and how they mix politics and dance.
The video documents the dance troupe during their long-time partner, the Middle East Children’s Alliance , and the Dheisheh refugee camp. The culminates in a grandparents ‘visit to the grandparents’ villages of which they were expelled in 1948. The members of Ibdaa bring the Palestinian story to -violently method while addressing the brutal political reality of their lives in a refugee camp.
The film has won dozens of awards and been screened internationally.