The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

April 26, 2004
Balata Refugee Camp Tour

Immanuel Lutheran Church
1021 Spaight Street, Madison

1:00 – 3:30 pm: East High School students
4:00 – 6:00 pm: Benefit Perennial Plant Sale
6:30 – 9:30 pm: Main Program and Bake Sale
8:00 pm: Film and Discussion

WORT’s The Morning Buzz with Linda Jamieson at 8 am will discuss the display with one of the creators.

Background from the creators of the Balata Refugee Camp Installation, Mika and Kelly:

We’re creating an installation composed of pictures, sound, childrens art,
photos, film, stories and interviews from Balata Refugee Camp. The content
is determined by the people of the camp, and will both represent life here
and bring a message to people in the ‘West’. We hope to take the project
on tour around the US, UK and Sweden, aiming to raise awareness about the
complex and desperate situation in the refugee camps, spur viewers into
action and build links between people and organisations in Balata camp and
others outside. This connections will hopefully lead to increased visits
and new projects such as a library and cultural centre.

The installation will be on tour around the US, UK and Sweden from early
March onwards. We hope to show it both in large cities and smaller
communities, in venues such as schools, exhibition halls, churches – the
more imaginative the better.

Why Balata?
Balata Refugee Camp is one of the most hard hit communities in the West
Bank. Refugees from the 1948 expulsion, over 30,000 residents are
crammed into a single, suffocating square kilometre. Unemployment is the
norm, and most families rely on UN handouts for survival. Daily
‘visits’ by Israeli military jeeps and tanks that park at the entrances
and shoot into the camp are taken for granted. It is rare to meet somebody
who hasn’t tasted tear gas; every second boy seems to have been shot at
some stage, and there isn’t a house the soldiers haven’t entered at some

Despite being the largest refugee camp in the West Bank, Balata receives
very limited outside support. Visitors are rare and links to abroad are
practically non-existent.