Feature: Palestinian youths establish first circus school for children in Gaza

Source: Xinhua| 2021-09-30 20:37:49|Editor: huaxia

by Sanaa Kamal

GAZA, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- Inside a large and colorful tent located in the town of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, dozens of children are taking part in the training set up by a local circus.

This is a place where they conduct gymnastics and acrobatics, and clowns teach them unique skills.

The Gaza Stars School was established in an area of one dunam (1,000 square metres) and the organizers took years to turn their dream into reality.

Majed Musallam, one of the school owners, told Xinhua that his dream began in 2015, when he started practicing circus arts alone.

Back then, he didn't have any experience, so he stuck to the trial-and-error approach, imitating what he had watched on TV.

Nonetheless, Musallam said, he always dreamed big and wanted to spread the culture of circus arts in the community that had been suffering from years of instability.

In 2016, the young man established his own team made up of his friends, who had the same passion and together they started pursuing their common dream.

"In the past, we used to watch these only on TV, as there were no masters of circus arts that spread joy and happiness among the children of Gaza," he explained.

"We wanted to make a change and started to teach ourselves," he added.

This was not easy for Musallam and his fellows, and the team had many unsuccessful attempts to implement some tricks, especially acrobatics.

"Sometimes, one of us would fall and break a leg or an arm. But, at other times, things would go smoothly and we mastered tricks quite easily," the young man recalled.

Those challenges, however, didn't bother Musallam or his team because he believed in his dream and was determined to achieve it.

Now, after years of hard work, his efforts bore fruit and the team expanded to 10 members.

They trained for long hours a day and received training from professionals, mostly Italian volunteers who taught them those skills.

"After years of persistence, we decided to establish this circus school to teach children," Omar Mustafa, one of the school's cofounders, told Xinhua.

"We can now say that the people of Gaza can see joy instead of drowning in their sufferings," the 24-year-old man said.

"Through the circus arts, children are able to release their energies and develop personal skills," he explained.

However, the role of school administrators are not limited to teaching children circus skills. They also aim to spot talents and help them compete in international circus competitions.

Practicing and mastering circus skills is no longer a television scene for Qusai Muhammad, a boy from Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, who is now practicing acrobatics.

The 12-year-old boy told Xinhua that acrobatics helped him get rid of his fears and gave him the courage to face difficulties.

"In the past, I was an introvert, and afraid to participate in any games with my friends," he said, adding that the situation has changed.

Mohammed and his partners in the circus school have brought circus shows to various streets, schools, and institutions by in portable tents.

The fantastic shows have received the applause of children and their family.

Mohammed Saleh, a 36-year-old father of four from Gaza City, said that his children felt happy by watching such entertainment shows.

"These shows encourage parents to enroll their children in the circus school to learn these skills, as they help children get rid of their psychological pressure," he said, while watching his son playing with a clown. Enditem

KEY WORDS: Gaza,Circus school,Children