Education and Fun for Palestinian Refugee Children

 
$20,561
$9,439
Raised
Remaining

 08/01/2014

Deheishe Refugee Camp

Dear friends of Karama,

All the volunteers at Karama Organization hope you started the year with great expectations and many new plans for the coming time. Unfortunately, over 5200 children in Deheishe Refugee Camp have started this year with very little prospects. Not only do they carry the presence of the Israeli occupation and the worsening financial situation of their families, but they also entered 2014 without being able to go back to school. With this letter we call upon our friends, previous volunteers and supporters to join Karama’s efforts to provide the children this basic human right of education.

The main provider of education and health services to the Palestinian refugees, the UNRWA, is in conflict with the Workers Union over employment and salary policies. This has led to a general strike of UNRWA staff since the 2nd of December 2013, closing schools, health centres and aid distribution offices in the 19 refugee camps across the West Bank. More than 52,200 children in the West Bank are currently without formal education, spending their days outside or in the limited space available in their homes. The fact that many of them are out on the streets and without the structure provided by the schools has already led to several social and behavioural problems. But they also miss out on the chance to learn and improve important skills like reading, writing and maths.

To challenge this situation which is likely to continue for a prolonged period, Karama Organization teamed up with some of the teachers to create an alternative educational setting. Especially the youngest grades will fall behind greatly in their development if they will not attend classes for another month. Karama will therefore host the children in our community centre and teach them in the most crucial subjects like Arabic and Maths. Karama Organization has very good relations with the UNRWA schools and teachers in the camp and has experience with providing remedial classes for the students both in the schools and in our community centre. This makes Karama a very important player to fill in the gap that is now created through the dispute.

However, to be able to host the children we need to turn the available rooms into classrooms where students can sit and write properly. This means we will have to construct wooden benches to serve as tables and purchase chairs. Also we will have to compensate the teachers and social workers that will work with the children and provide some paper and colouring materials. People familiar with our work know we depend on donations from our supporters for the projects we are undertaking in society. We are trying to make the most of all the limited resources we have at our disposal, but in order to really make a difference in the camp we need to increase our capacity.

Just on the first day since we announced this project in society, over 60 children entered our community centre to participate in the classes for the first grade. With your help we would be able to receive more children and give them their most basic right; a place to learn. Neither the occupation nor the policies of the UNRWA should leave these children without education so we hope you will join our efforts to provide them this basic service!

If you have any inquires about other ways of donating or supporting our project please contact our organization through volunteers@karama.orgWe invite you to reach out to our team if you have any questions and share this message among family and friends!

Thank you very much for your attention for the Palestinian situation, your support makes a real difference for the children in Deheishe.

With gratitude,

Yasser Alhaj

Director Karama Organization

PS: you can also find our organization on Facebook http://tiny.cc/vx5c9w and at www.karama.org

Karama Palestine / DEHEISHE REFUGEE CAMP / BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK / PALESTINE  T: 00972-2275-1313 / 00972 5990-33021 I: www.karama.org E: alhaj@karama.org  / volunteers@karama.org                

Links:

The last weeks of school are behind us, and the summer holiday started. Some children will say ‘finally’, since they are looking forward to a break from their work and exams. Others, who are enjoying their lessons and are more reluctant towards long weeks with little do to, are less enthusiastic. For both children Karama hopes to be a place to enjoy their summer, just like Karama worked hard to offer them a place of support during their school days! Now that the schools closed, we will give you a final update of our activities during the last months and we will look forward to what is planned for the coming time!

But first of all it is our aim to thank all our donors and supporters for their continued care and attention for our center and children in Deheishe. Since we joined this website in August 2011 we have noticed your support in many ways: from liking our page or updates on Facebook to receiving donations from all over the world. This has helped us a lot to extend our network and continue our work with the children, and we are very thankful you continued to show your interest through this complete year!

In the last month we continued with our activities in our Karama center and the UN schools. Daily we received several groups of children, with whom we continued to correct and support their school work. International volunteers supported their English lessons, and other volunteers and social workers assisted in different classes. Even more importantly, we paid special attention to several children with more severe emotional problems, who were limited by this in their school work. The activities in the groups, sports and other possibilities we gave them to express themselves, helped them to get rid of negative emotions and allowed them to better concentrate at school. Although we have not yet seen the recent results from the last exams, because they will arrive later this month, we have noticed great change in the behavior of the children.

What can better conclude the project than the words of the children themselves? One 10 year old girl who joined our project for the last months said: “Karama is very different from my school, but I learn here a lot, even more than at school! And what I learned in Karama last week, helped me a lot with my quiz yesterday.” Another boy never had the concentration to join one of our creative projects, and he always ended up being present in a very negative way. Due to more intensive time with him and positive attention during other group activities, he found better ways to express his energy and emotions. Recently, he was the proudest boy in the world when he enjoyed a craft activity and made himself a beautiful crown!"

Now we will focus on the summer camps that will take place in the summer months and on the Rooftop Micro Farm project that will continue this summer. We will organize two summer camps for the children between 5 and 10 years, but also a special environmental summer camp for the teenagers between 11 and 16. We hope to share with them the value of the environment and the importance of nature, both through workshops in Deheishe as well as field trips to surrounding areas. For this reason we will close this donation page, but we immediately start our new project page for the Micro Farms!

We thank you again for your support, and we hope that we can count on you in the months as well when we hope to organize three great summer camps and also extend our Rooftop Micro Farm project. 

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters!

The new season started; the sun is getting out more often and the cold starts to disappear from our community center and the houses in the camp. The perfect time for more outdoor games our international volunteers think at Karama Organization, and the children seem to think it’s the perfect time to satisfied their appetite for ice-creams.. Since the warmth officially returned, ice-creams seem to be sold everywhere for a few cents, making it the children’s favorite after school snack. But besides all these things going on in our organization, we would love to take the time to write you another update about the developments in our project!

Since the weather enables us to initiate more activities outside, it confirms again how important is it for the children to play safely. Not only is it a great way for them to be active and get some exercise in this way, it also helps them to release energy and emotions. Some children will be too distracted to sit down during the program in Karama, and those benefit greatly from playing some outside games first. Being too bothered by problems at home or other distractions to focus on a workshop, after they used their bodies they are often much more able to participate fully in any other activity. All the children  gain a lot from the activities our international volunteer create outside; since they often contain a component of collaboration, team play and determination. Although most kids will find it hard work together in a team for example, it is encouraging to let them experience that being a team player is actually a great good!   

But although the emphasize of Karama is on creating a safe place for the children, both in an emotional and pedagogical way, as well as in a practical way, we notice that our outside playground is not always living up to our ideal of safety. The concrete floor is not whole anymore, and contains area’s where the children could easily hurt themselves.  Even though we have been spared for accidents until now, we still want to make it our aim to update this area, hopefully with new rubber matting. A project proposal is going out to our contacts right now, which will hopefully receive responses in the near future. If you want to contribute to this restoration plan for our outside facilities, you are more than welcome to contribute on this website, or sent us an email if you have any suggestions.

With our lessons and workshops, we keep on supporting the education from the children that they already receive in the UN schools in Deheishe Refugee Camp. The group sizes that are being used in Karama are much smaller than their classes in the UN school. In the first place this already makes them feel more noticed, and encourages them even more to participate in the classes. But it also helps the tutor to notice the process of the children much quicker, and give more attention to the area’s where they have difficulties in. Although the lessons in Karama will have no official assessment, they will most surely help to children to perform better in class and pass their exams in school with more confidence.

We would like to thank you again for keeping connected with our project and showing your interest and support! We encourage you to keep on spreading the word about Karama Organization with your friends, family and contacts so we can continue with our work.

If you would like stay in closer contact, please fill in your email address at our website to receive our monthly newsletter!

Warm wishes from the Karama Team.

Library
Library

Dear friends and supporters through the Global Giving,

 

It has been two months now since our last report, so we are eager to update you on the developments in Karama Organization. Still, we look back at an hectic but amazing Global Challenge, with great results! We were able to reach out to many people, to get in contact with new sponsors and receive a rewarding amount of donations. And even after the Global Challenge we feel we benefit greatly from our account at Global Giving, since we continue to receive support. 

 

In the last months, the work of Karama continued steadfast through the help of international volunteers and the determination of our local staff and teachers. Since the schools started after the summer holidays and winter settled in, the openings hours are slightly reduced, to meet the children’s school schedule and to avoid keeping them in too long after the dark sets in. A group of young children run in daily after their school classes, which last from 7 o clock in the morning till 13 o clock. Our programs give them the opportunity to be creative and get their energy out, while receiving personal attention from our volunteers. This often results in new artistic wall decorations, and the wallboard full of colorful drawings. Also, the English lessons with several age-groups continue in small setting, in order to give the children the maximum of attention. This will support their lessons in the UN schools, where the children who struggle with the material often fall behind quickly.

 

One of the most recent projects that Karama successfully conducted was the transformation of the only Deheishe Camp Library! With the help of two dedicated international volunteers, we were able to extend our range of books, and set up a more systematic administration system. Above this, we added some soft cushions to create a comfortable reading corner. After the hard work, this resulted immediately in more kids using the facility! The queues have never been this long with children waiting to take out books, and children that never took books home before now have the chance to read in the library, as well as at home. We continue to look for options to extend our book range, and we work hard to keep the library an attractive reading and relaxing place.

 

Meanwhile, we continue to work with the primary schools in Deheishe Camp. Besides the activities in our center, which also support the educational system, we work to sustain the efforts of the schools as well. Since we identified the problems children experience due to too little attention in class and distraction due to emotional distress, we continue to make efforts to establish activities that will meet their needs. This have to happen in close coordination with the management of the schools, in order to identify the group of children that will benefit the most of our program, and to plan the activities according to their schedule.  With the success of the previous remedial program, implemented in 2010, in our minds, we are hopeful our current efforts will bring the most vulnerable children more academic success.

 

With this update we want to let our Global Giving supporters know what we did not forget them, and we continue to be thankful for your support! If you wish for more regular updates, why not add your email address to our mailing list at www.karama.org.

 

We thank you all for your interest in the work of Karama Organization and your continuing support!

Warm greeting from the Karama Organization.

Activities inside
Activities inside
Kids in the Library
Kids in the Library

Links:

Thanks to all our friends and supporters, the funds
collected during the Global Open Challenge will enable us to run our remedial
education classes, which support students who are having difficulties at
school. Preparations have begun on this important project which will start just
as soon as the funds are received.

Currently, the older children at Karama are enjoying daily
English classes and music lessons with our international volunteers. The rest
of their time is spent working on a blog about Palestine and releasing their
energy through the various sports activities that local volunteers organise for
them. The younger children are learning and having fun in the creative and
imaginative play activities organised by the international volunteers. They too
enjoy practising their musical skills in the singing session which takes place
at the end of each day.

The remedial lessons being prepared will target male and female UNRWA

school students who are identified by their test scores as being those

with the greatest risk of academic failure. We will provide them with

supplementary lessons, that aim to address the combined interaction

between education and psychosocial health, given the poor educational

environment and the trauma experienced by the children due to their life

under occupation. In particular, we aim to improve the test scores of the

participating students in the subjects of Arabic, English, Mathematics and

Science. Furthermore, we aim to address directly any observed psychosocial

issues and to improve the interaction among teachers and students through the program's small class sizes.

Currently, we are in contact with the UNRWA school staff to coordinate the practical aspects of the courses. Aside from these preparations however, we still have to wait for the funds to arrive!

Again a huge thank you to all our donors, supporters and friends! Without your help and support, we would not have the resources to carry out this remedial education project!

KARAMA ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Deheishe Refugee Camp

Bethlehem - Palestine.

Tel: +972 - 2 - 275 13 13

e-mail: alhaj@karama.org



Director: Yasser Al-Haj

Tel: +972 - 599 - 033 021

office: =972-2-2751313

Links:

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Funded

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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Project Leader

Yasser Alhaj

Bethlehem, Bethlehem Palestine

Where is this project located?