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The Refugee Project

Palestinian Art and Culture in the Irbid Refugee Camp

Christine Byllaardt, Caitlin Mcmullen, and Stephen Jones

The Irbid Refugee camp is 40 kilometres from the Syrian border, in the northwest corner of Jordan. The site is spread across 24 hectares and houses over 30,000 people.

The camp began with around 4,000 Palestinian refugees in 1951, after they were displaced from their homelands during the Arab-Israeli war in 1948.

Today it is also home for some of those who fled the Syrian crisis in 2011.

For the last 64 years, the refugees have managed to create a society of their own, in which they can retain their Palestinian identity.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) believes that when groups of refugees are together, “it is important to sustain cultural beliefs” within the camps.

The Palestinians in Irbid Refugee camp have found a unique way of keeping their culture alive through the next generation.

The children are taught to express their feelings about their homeland through street art. Ahmed Nassar teaches the children and is the manager of the graffiti in the camp.

“Here at the camp we do not see Palestine, but Palestine is inside, you live in it,” he says. 

Ahmed Nassar, manager of graffiti in Irbid refugee camp 

Ahmed Nassar, manager of graffiti in Irbid refugee camp 

Between performing shows around Jordan and the region, Ahmad Al Wheby visits the Irbid camp to teach the young generation how to sing. 

While growing up in the camp, Ahmed was in the second generation who were taught to maintain the belief that one day they will have the right to return to Palestine. 

Art bringing home closer

Art bringing home closer