At first glance the group of children intently rehearsing their dance moves looked like any other Oxfordshire theatre group.

But for eight of the teenagers, learning rhythms and grooves was a world away from their usual daily routine of curfews, roadblocks and dicing with danger in a refugee camp in Ramallah, Palestine.

This was the second group of children living in Al Amari camp who have visited Oxford in trips organised by the Oxford Ramallah Friendship Association.

Ramallah teacher and association member Ramadan Sharqawi said the trip offered youngsters the opportunity to experience a completely different way of life.

Mr Sharqawi said: "It gives a chance for our children to see the world through the eyes of other people here in Oxford, people who are supporting them and who are so compassionate and sympathetic with their cause.

"It's a people to people link. There are no political parties involved. It's the people of Oxford and the people of Ramallah coming together.

"People here have a peaceful life despite multicultural diversity. We too can live in harmony in Palestine, as people in Oxford of different nationalities do.

"This is a chance for the children to be out of all the hard life and hard circumstances they face at home."

While over here, the teenagers have gone skating and swimming, visited the London Eye and the beach and worked with local children to produce a theatre performance.

They spent a week putting together dances and acting segments for a fund-raising cultural celebration at the Pegasus Theatre in Magdalen Road, East Oxford.

Yasmin Sidhwa, of Pegasus Theatre, said: "They are working on a piece all about gargoyles. It's celebrates Oxford and Oxfordshire and has inspirations such as May Morning events and tourism.

"It also includes the children's perspectives of Oxford and how it appears different to them."

Jane Alexander, who helped start the Oxford Ramallah Friendship Association, said: "We were looking at helping some of the poorest children. Some of them have had fathers killed or imprisoned.

"We did the theatre workshops for the first time this year with the thought that they would meet up with more English kids."

The refugees arrived in the UK during wet July but Ms Alexander said the teenagers, who are more used to temperatures above 35 degrees, welcomed the rain.

The teenagers will be taking to the stage with British youngsters on Saturday, August 7, starting at 7pm. Tickets cost £8 or £4 for concessions and are available on 01865 722851.

Head of the family at 17

Abed El-Rahman, 17 lives in Al Amari camp with his mother, two sisters and one brother. He has always lived in Al Amari and is head of the family since his father was imprisoned for nine years.

He said: "It's very boring in the camp. We don't do anything, we just sit at home or hang out on the street.

"There is nothing special, there are no gardens and no fields to play in. So kids are playing in the middle of the streets. Some have car accidents where they are playing.

"I visited my father a year ago. Now I am over 16 I cannot go any more and that is hard. I miss him very much."

'There is no safety'

Mohammed Al-Salhi, 17, lived in Amman, Jordan, until he was 13, then moved to Al Amari to be with his two brothers, three sisters and parents.

He said: "We are in the camp because of poorness and occupation. My father is not in prison, he is an accountant. But if you are in prison or out of prison, it is the same - all Palestinians are in a big jail.

"In the camp, every day is the same. You go to school and come back. You go around the camp but you cannot move to anywhere else. It's very hard.

"There is no safety. You may go out and not come back. I have seen children in the streets, homeless. It is part of every day life."

'Full of pain'

Aseel Abed R Buk, 14, lives in Al Amari camp with her three sisters and her mother. Her father was killed when she was eight.

She said: "I am happy that I am living with my family in the camp, although my life in the camp is not easy because it is full of pain.

"Every night the Israelis enter the camp, wake everybody up, keep people awake until the morning, and arrest young kids.

"When I was eight years-old, the Israelis killed my father. I was at home when they came to inform my mum about what happened.

"There is a big difference between people in the camp who have fathers and people who don't have fathers, so it was a very different life."