Jana Spring Festival
AL-JANA, in cooperation with the Janana Network, activists, youth clubs, and partner NGOs, has been organizing, planning, and executing the Janana Spring Festival since 2002. The festival, which tours the five corners of Lebanon, attracts over 2000 children and youngsters aged between 8 and 14 years from marginalized communities across the country (Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqis, Kurds, etc.).
Since the first edition, the Janana Spring Festival’s aim has been to offer a variety of activities, ranging from interactive cultural/artistic mini workshops to stage performances to a street carnival. They are all aiming at engaging disadvantaged children and caregivers in actively finding ways to address vulnerabilities and build resilience as well as promote tolerance and coexistence. The implemented activities have helped building bridges between different communities. They also have been sensitizing the children and providing them with social support and skills. The festivals take place in public parks accessible to children from diverse communities including children with disabilities.
The mini-workshops succeeded in promoting creative expression and active learning. The workshops’ content has been diverse; they are entertaining and educational at the same time, ranging to include making music, storytelling, interactive theatre, creative writing, mobile library, interactive games, puppet making, and others.
Furthermore, the street carnival enables children to express their issues creatively to the host community, using the colourful and interactive media of street arts theatre, music, puppets and movement; whatever their small hands pull together in the mini corners.
Given such a stimulating and enabling environment, children have the opportunity to open up and share stories of their own in different ways; through discussions, interactive theatre, stage performances, and their own artistic productions in the mini-workshops and the street carnival.
While mainly targeting the children, the festival has had another added value: sensitizing NGO staff and activists who accompany the children to the festival and become aware of the different tools and techniques that they could easily utilize in their work with their target groups.
Holding the festival inside areas of marginalized communities created a pleasant and colourful environment. Parents, children, and the elderly had the chance to join in the joyful atmosphere.
During the festival, children have the chance to learn new skills, express themselves in creative ways, bond with other children, and learn to play together and cooperate. Activities with multiple indirect messages encourage participants to deal with many social problems around them: conflict, discrimination, drugs, violence, dropout, environment, reading, diversity, etc…