16/19/22-23  April 2015, Girls School, Shu’fat Refugee Camp

Planting the Bayara

The bayara, made of citrus trees, were particularly diffuse in Yafa as a collective space for cultivation. In Shufat we aim to reactivate this notion as a way to reintroduce a collective dimension of cultivating together. In this case the idea is the creation of spaces that can invite students and teachers to a different interaction, complementary to the studying that is taking place in classrooms.

School in exile (PDF)




IMG_4612 copy

9 April 2015, Girls School,  Shu’fat Refugee Camp

Saving the two trees

During the process of building the school grounds, cement was placed that came to cover the roots of the two pine trees located in the main square of the school, leaving them in a threat to die due to impossibility of water and air accessing them.


In order to save the trees  we involved the students in an action. We drew a circle around the trees, creating a space on the ground for the students to make drawings and paintingss and liberate the trees for the cement. Students of different classes and ages participated, marking an area that to be removed to enable water from accessing the trees.


1 April 2015, Women Center/ Girls school, Shufat Refugee Camp 

Workshop with the Women Center on “The Bayara” 

The workshop was organized  by UNRWA Health Department and hosted by the women’s center in Shufat Refugee Camp. The objective of the workshop was to discuss and negotiate possible material contribution from the women’s center in the establishment of the “Bayara”. It was agreed that Campus in Camps would coordinate between the women’s center “plantation project” and DAAR’s designs of the gardens. A second meeting took place with the headmistress and teachers at the school. The idea was to update them with that agreed upon with the women center and together decide on how to progress forward.  Campus in Camps introduced the concept of “Bayara” to the headmistress and teachers and collectively agreed to create a “Bayara” in one of the gardens of the school.


26 March 2015, Girls School, Shufat Refugee Camp 

Workshop with the students on open spaces. Participatory landscape design for the gardens.


Meeting with students’ class, reflecting on the design of the school, collecting observations and views towards the future of the open spaces of the schools.

25 March 2015, Women Centre, Shufat Refugee Camp 

Network among major stakeholders  and meeting with “Healthy Camp initiative”

This session focused primarily on conceptual discussion and clarifications of Campus in Camps program, DAAR’s role, and approaches in intervening in the girls school open spaces. After the round introduction, Khadija -Representative of UNRWA and director of “Healthy Camp” initiative gave an overview of  Shu’fat camp’s current political, social and authoritarian conditions. This in turn emphasized the lack and absence of services due to the lack of competent authorities apart from UNRWA, which is operating alone. It also recognized their inability to cover all needed services due to the high density of population. Then it turned to talk about an initiative entitled “Healthy Camp” that was initiated by the existing different local organizations as a result of the camp’s poor conditions in an attempt to overcome its problems, which are related to education, health, security and development. The initiative succeeded in generating and forming a committee group comprised of representatives of the camp’s various institutions, with a view to cooperate together alongside UNRWA to address education, hygiene and institutions networking, endeavoring to unite them despite their different interests and goals.

Alessandro Petti explored his personal interests of involvement in the school of Shufat Camp. As one of the architects of the school, he clarified the meaning of the design and discussed its different approaches in pedagogies, indicating the importance of architecture in influencing  students’ and teachers’ life.

Both Campus in Camps projects activators, Qussay Abo Akker and Isshaq Albarbary, gave a brief introduction to the work of the Campus in Camps program, questioning and reflecting on what is a refugee camp today. The considered the new culture that was established over the past sixty six years and the importance of producing new forms of representation about camps and refugees beyond the static and traditional symbols of victimization, poverty and passivity. While Qussay was critical and reflective on the rigid narrative discourse established by NGO’s, humanitarian aid organizations and to an extent the political discourse around the right of return, Isshaq came to speak of refugees achievements by introducing the initiative of the Campus in Camps program entitled  “The Bridge: Challenging Perceptions”.

A member of the “Healthy Camp Initiative”, Shaher, talked about how the absence of law creates a difficult situation for preserving social and security right, particularly how Israel constantly implements policies purposed to create and deepen conflicts in the camp to ultimately encourage people to abandon the place. On the other hand, he praised the positive impact of the school design on the students and teachers, recognizing the importance role of architecture on having a profound impact on the way of living and thinking.

Sandi Hilal came to re-emphasize DAAR’s role in the project. “We wish to continue what we started in regard to the school and its design and re-think and establish all possible green spaces in the school, and understand how can this impact extracurricular activities”.

11 March 2015, Women Centre, Shufat Refugee Camp 

Memorandum of understanding between DAAR and UNRWA Health Department 


This meeting brought together both architects Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal with the “Healthy Camp” director and “UNRWA” representative, in order to complement “Shu’fat” school designers interests in intervening in the open spaces of the girls school.  The architects of the school presented DAAR’s vision and approach towards the open spaces of the school to UNRWA, and together brainstormed and articulated possible interventions in the spaces. As a result, a memorandum of understanding between DAAR and UNRWA took place asserting the necessity of DAAR’s role in intervening in the spaces of the school by designing, creating and using it.


This project’s aim is to discuss, elaborate, and represent ideas about al Mashaa’—the common—as it applies in the context of Palestinian refugee camps. We are seeking to elaborate a relation between education and architectural form at Shu’fat UNRWA Girls School, Jerusalem and at the al Feniq Cultural Centre in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, Bethlehem. At Shu’fat, we are planning to use the design of the school as a tool to influence the relation between teachers and students and to create possibilities for alternative educational platforms.