Rebuilding Alliance

Rebuilding Alliance is dedicated to rebuilding war-torn communities and making them safe. Our vision is a just and enduring peace in Israel and Palestine with equal value, opportunity, and security for all.
Oct 14, 2012

Good News! A Grant to launch the 3rd Abir's Garden!

Hello Friends,

We have some good news!  We have been notified by our friends at Playgrounds for Palestine that they will provide a grant to allows us to begin construction of a third Abir’s Garden Playground right away. Ideally, we would like to use your donations to cover the construction and meeting expenses of Combatants for Peace who will be coming together for this construction.

The “Combatants for Peace” movement was started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis, who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence; Israelis as soldiers in the Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for Palestinian freedom. After brandishing weapons for so many years, and having seen one another only through weapon sights, they decided to put down their guns, and to fight for peace.   Rebuilding Alliance joined when a child, Abir Aramin, was killed by an Israeli soldier's rubber-coated steel bullet.   She was the daughter of CfP founder, Bassam Aramin and his wife Salwa.  Together we created Abir's Garden: a Safe Place to Grow as a way to build good in memory of this beautiful child.

Thanks to your help, this will be our 3rd Abir's Garden playground!   Our first playground was at Abir's school in Anata East Jerusalem.   The next was in Al Samoa Simya in the south of the West Bank.  This time we are asking Combatants for Peace to go north — and that means we'll be working with CfP's Northern team for this project.   We have a site in mind: right next the Al Aqaba Kindergarten, in a village at risk of demolition in Area C.   'God is in the details' so we will be updating the project description as soon as the new plans are confirmed.  More info coming soon!

Please note, is holding their Bonus Matching Grant day on Tuesday Oct. 16th starting at 9:01pm Pacific time.   They will give away $50,000 and they way this competition has been going, we expect that to happen in the first 2 hours.   If you would like to give, please set your clock — GG will match your donation by 30%.



Sep 13, 2012

Planning for the Birthing Center

Outside with view of entry gate
Outside with view of entry gate

Dear Friend,

I am writing to convey very positive news about our 1st Palestinian Birthing Center-Jordan Valley project!   Thanks to your support, implementation of this project is now underway!

Last month, Donna Baranski-Walker, founder and executive director of Rebuilding Alliance, met with Jim Stunkel,  Project Lead from Assist International, the organization that will provide the birthing center equipment and training. Donna and Jim then developed a Memorandum of Understanding for all the stakeholders in the project and connected with the Rotary Club of Ramallah (our project partners) to work through details. 

Here are all the tasks that must be addressed: 

  1. Shipping Details: The equipment must arrive safely in Israel or in Jordan without tariffs.  From there it must be transported to Al Aqaba in a timely manner.  Our Customs approval process presents interesting challenges becaues Al Aqaba Village is in Area C, the part of the West Bank that is solely controlled by Israel.    
  2. Clinic Preparation: Jim Stunkel now has the photos he needed showing where our equipment will be placed inside Al Aqaba's Al Amal (Hope) Clinic.  Jim is working through siting for the ultrasound, heart, incubator equipment and labor/delivery beds, and also electricity and transformer connections;
  3. Signature of Memorandum of Understanding: To make this project come together, a number of groups and individuals will each play an important role.  Rebuilding Alliance, the Rotary Club of Ramallah, and the Rotary Club of Woodside/Portola Valley, and Assist International all have their roles -- and so does Mayor Haj Sami, Governor Toubassi, and the Minister of Health!   One of the challenges here has to do with the simple fact that babies are born at every time of day or night.  That means our clinic must be staffed 24/7... with the Palestinian government unable to pay salaries and consumer riots in the streets, it is a tough time to request a new staffing commitment in Al Aqaba.   
  4. Palestinian Medical Team: Once the staffing comitment is made and funded, the Ministry of Health and the Mayor of Al Aqaba will begin recruitment of an experienced Palestinian doctor to supervise the team of technicians, doctors and midwives. The qualified Doctor/supervisor is someone who already uses ultrasound. Dedicated daily staffing should be provided by qualified nurses, midwifes and medical support specialists as needed for the anticipated patient services. This staff will need to participate in all installation and orientation training of donated equipment.
  5. U.S. Training Team: Recruitment of two technicians who will provide training as to use and maintenance of the equipment;
  6. Visiting Rotarians: A group of Rotarians and friends would like to come to Al Aqaba while the medical team is there, then tour Palestine and Israel too.  I think we're talking springtime.
  7. Awareness of our Birthing Center: We’ll want to have the full assistance of the Governor, the Minister of Health, and all the neighboring mayors to welcome this clinic and let families throughout the Jordan Valley know that it is here.
  8. Diplomatic Assistance: We’ll need the British Consulate, the American Consulate, and the many consulates and agencies that have invested in Al Aqaba to express their support for the clinic, both publically and privately, so that patients can reach the birthing center, and the clinic will stay safe.

Below are some pictures of the medical clinic, along with Kali’s measurements of the clinic. We at Rebuilding Alliance are excited to see photos of where the clinic will be located and are happy to share them with you! Thank you again for supporting this project!

Hallway and bathrooms to the right
Hallway and bathrooms to the right
Reception area
Reception area
Window Room A
Window Room A
Window Room B
Window Room B
Center area and Reception area
Center area and Reception area
Clinic's layout with measurements
The Medical Clinic in Al Aqaba!
The Medical Clinic in Al Aqaba!
Sep 10, 2012

Rebuilding to Remain in Such a Critical Time

Inshallah, we will finish Shahad
Inshallah, we will finish Shahad's home soon

Dear Friends,

I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer!   You’ll be happy to know that construction of the first 3 homes in our Rebuilding to Remain program has reached beyond the halfway point. Everyone, especially the families, are eager to finish these homes and move in! 

Now the bad news:  I need to tell you that construction stopped just before Ramadan.  Even though Rebuilding to Remain placed 10th in the Global Giving Matching Grant Competition, we fell short of our fundraising goal.  In early July, we transferred all the funds we had raised.

Ours is not the only source of funding for the project.  The Palestinian National Authority has committed $13,000 per home and we had hoped they would transfer their share to keep construction moving forward.   Rebuilding Alliance Board Chair Carin Pacifico and I flew to meet with the Ministry of Finance and received assurances that these funds would be transferred as soon as they are able.

Perhaps you’ve read of the demonstrations and consumer riots in the West Bank because the Palestinian Authority cannot yet meet payroll.   According to the Maan News Agency, “The PA is waiting for the US Congress to approve a request by President Barack Obama's administration to pay $200 million to the Ramallah-based government. A hoped-for $1.1 billion in 2011 reached only $750 million, as pledges from Gulf states in particular fell short.”

What next?  

1)    We must meet our commitment:  $20,000 per home of which $5000 is grant and $15,000 is loan.  Please mark your calendar for October 17th, the next GlobalGiving Bonus Day!  Starting at 9pm Pacific time on Oct. 16th, every dollar donated will be matched by GlobalGiving by 30%.

2)    Can you join us as a Bonus Day Captain to ask 10 of your friends to donate too?  We’ll coach you by phone and email, and invite you a conference call with Mayor Haj Sami!  If you would like join us, please give me or Rudy a call at 650 325-4663.

3)    This is a critical time for Al Aqaba and all Palestinian Villages in Area C.
As the world turns to elections and the very real possibility of war with Iran, we’re one of the only groups watching and working to keep this vulnerable area safe.   Next week, Morgan Bach, the teacher who spent 6 months in Al Aqaba as a visiting English teacher is joining us at our shop to help launch our campaign for Al Aqaba in advance of the October 14th Israeli High Court review of demolition orders near the homes we are building.  We have designed a cool Ushahidi mapping system to help Contact Congress and Morgan will be setting-up a speaking tour too.  More soon!

Thank you again for your support, your patience, and your encouragement.   Thank you for being there.


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