Second Across Borders Internet Centre Launched in Khan Yunis Camp, Gaza
The second Across Borders Internet Centre was opened yesterday in Khan Yunis camp, Gaza, at an opening ceremony attended by over 150 people at the Bonat al-Ghad Centre. The Across Borders Project was initiated last year by the Birzeit University Information Technology Unit and aims to bring Internet technology into Palestinian refugee camps across the Middle East. The first centre was launched in Dheisheh Camp, near Bethlehem at the Ibdaa Centre in July last year. More information about the project in English, Arabic and French can be found at http://www.acrossborders.org
The centre in Khan Yunis is being run in conjunction with the Khan Yunis Popular Committee representing activities and organizations in the camp. The dabke dance-troupe from the Ibdaa Cultural Centre in Dheisheh camp performed at the opening and was met with enthusiastic response. The Dheisheh website can be found at http://www.dheisheh.acrossborders.org
The launch in Khan Yunis marks an expansion of the project which has as its central aims the connection of Palestinian refugees and the creation of bilingual camp websites to provide information about the camps. The Khan Yunis centre was supported through funding from Oxfam-Great Britain and several private donations. Located in the middle of the camp, the centre will soon begin running courses in Internet use and website design as well as provide 24-hour internet connection to the camp residents.
Also at the launch, Mashour Abu Dakha from Shaml - The Palestinian Refugee and Diaspora Centre spoke of the construction of a refugee database and bulletin board website in partnership with the Across Borders Project. The initial launch of the database system can be found at http://www.un194.org
During the launch, Oxfam GB announced that it would support the establishment of five more centres in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The support for these centres was obtained through an agreement with the Australian government and Oxfam International partner, Community Aid Abroad.