Welcome to Karama's winter update!
The second round of nine gardens, that was started in March this year, have had a great first harvest. With many new women involved they have needed each other in the past months to overcome their struggles and learn new skills.
You know that one of the most important skills they learn in this project might be their social skills? In the women group they need to communicate, negotiate, question, collaborate and discuss - and the lessons this teaches them they use again in their households and in their communities. And you know that one of the most important changes through the project is probably the change in attitude of the women? By taking initiative in their own hands they become pro-active, less dependent and more positive towards their own capabilities and life!
Are we still taking about growing healthy vegetables on the roof here? Yeah for sure! Their diet has improved as well, their kids eat much more often fresh vegetables so we are not missing out on these major positive effects. But we can not underestimate the huge impact such a pro-active women can have on her community!
Now winter comes in the women have been cleaning and planting their gardens in the last month. A wide varierty of beans, tomatoes, pepers and cucumbers will be planted in the green houses, which is still providing a good environment for the plants to grow. With the stronger structure and better protected garden, they are designed to survive any rain that can be expected.
You are very welcome to contact us with any questions or suggestions. We would love to hear from you!
Many thanks from all the participants for your support.
Warm regards from the team in Deheishe.
Our lives in Palestine have been greatly impacted by the ongoing violence and recent war on Gaza. This is also seen in our projects over the last period. This GlobalGiving update will inform you about the developments over the last three months.
Dear Karama supporter,
After Karama set up the structures and provided the water, the women have been taking care of their gardens on a daily basis in the past three months. Their plants started to grow and produce. Meetings between the women and visits from agricultural experts continued until the first week of Ramadan (end of June). These moments of exchange were experienced as very positive by the women and made them feel more capable of doing the job. Especially the discussion of diseases was helpful, as they are unfortunately not uncommon. They learned how to add iron, calcium or other nutrition to the soil that help the plants to deal with the poor soil we have here in Palestine. Other diseases have been mostly kept out of the gardens so far and the main concern is the lack of fertile soil and high salinity of water.
Also a survey was developed by the project team to further document how the women are effected by the gardens. This questionnaire measures the food security situation of the women as well as public participation of the partakers and how the women view themselves. Complemented with details about their harvest and a repetition of a similar survey at the end, this will give a detailed insight in the impact of this project and any changes in the lives of the women.
But in July, the appearance of tranquillity was lifted and violence became more open on the people in Gaza. The signing of a Palestinian unity government triggered mass arrests in the West Bank, but it led to a massacre in Gaza. Indiscriminate bombing of the densely populated strip of land caused not only more than 2000 people to die, it also took down infrastructure that makes life almost impossible now. Life is impossible in Gaza, if it wasn't for the high spirit of the people. Shortages of water and electricity lead to many preventable diseases. Many people are still displaced, because their houses are destroyed or so greatly damaged that there is no home to return to anymore. While a great amount of families already depended on food support from external actors before the recent war, currently UNRWA hands out emergency packages to all Gazan families.
The war naturally became the focus of our lives in the West Bank as well and took us through a rollercoaster of emotions. Between the shock, despair and euphoria we have found the hope that one day justice will be done and our rights will be recognized. But as so many families in Gaza had to bury their death, it was difficult in some way to continue in the project for some. One can feel downhearted when all it seems you can do is send bottles of water to your people enduring such hardships a few kilometres away. But we are under the same occupying structures and need to take our steps to shake off this injustice. And taking care of our health, greening our roofs and providing for our families might than exactly be steps that we need to take.
Though the violence continues now in Gaza, we know there will be a day they can rebuild their homes, schools, mosques and roofs again. At the same time in the West Bank we should continue to grow; on our roofs for a healthier life and in our hearts for a more dignified life.
Your support is a great sign for the Palestinian people. Thank you for standing with us.
The picture from Gaza: (Ashraf Amra / APA images)
Dear Karama Supporter,
The last weeks were full of progress for the participants in our rooftop gardens project so we are eager to share these exciting developments with you!
Last Friday we had a trainings workshop for the participants together with an expert from the Ministry of Agriculture. The Palestinian Authority wanted to extend its support with this gesture, which offered a chance for the women to get together with somebody daily involved in vegetable production. He shared insights on growing on such a small space and the women asked him advice about what plants to grow best. Now most of the participants have started planting they have received another great incentive to give as much of their energy and attention possible in this project!
Another great motivator for all the people surrounding this project was the visit of a TV crew from Al Jazeera, an international news channel broadcasting all over the world. For a program for the Arabic channel, they filmed the rooftop gardens and some of the participants involved to display the story of the Palestinian refugees. On the 14th of May, this report was broadcast on their TV channel. This broadcast comes at the occassion of the rememberance of the Naqba - the term that refers to the expulsion of Palestinians before and after the announcement of the state of Israel. All around Palestine this expulsion continues. Bedoein are still forced of their lands, villages have their land seized for settlements and the land and few houses left from before the Naqba remain out of reach for the refugees and even under threat of demolition. There is no better day to show the occupation and the world with our project that we as refugees will never give up. That we are able to create everything out of nothing and that we can turn the naqba into revolution. The participants are proud of the project and feel the connection to their land - even if they don't have access to it yet. Some of them shy, some of them bold they shared their story in front of the camera and we hope you will enjoy watching the clip! Especially for our international supporters we have translated the report and provided subtitles, so quickly watch the video through the link below or here: http://youtu.be/qUfzflYqQeE
In the coming weeks the participants will continue planting their gardens and we look forward with them to the progress. We hope you look out to our next update as well!
A big thank you and many warm wishes from Deheishe!
New season, new gardens and participants - same idea and commitment!
After a difficult winter with stormy weather and damage to our project, a new phase started with your support and a generous donation from Lush, currently enableling us to prepare another 9 gardens.
Dear supporter of our community in Deheishe,
This last winter brought us many unexpected things; a heavy blizzard but little rain, great damage to all gardens but also overwelming support from our community and a continuation of our partnership with Lush. Though these last things are very positive for our rooftop garden project and the new participants, the little rain and the problems with the UNRWA make many Palestinian refugees cautious about the coming months... The harvest is expected to be less this year because of the little rain and food prices are very likely to rise. Meanwhile the shrinking budget of UNRWA leads to fears of further cuts in services and less families that will be able to count on food assistance from the agency. This takes place while research has shown more refugee families are getting more and more food INsecure!
Karama continues to look for solutions that raise our community to more self support and independence and less relience on food aid from outside. That is why it remains crucial to bring back agriculture into the lives of the refugees. With your help this is possible and currently we are on the brick of including more women in our project. Lush Charity Pot UK has pledged new funds to include another 9 women in this initiative. Soon they will be climbing on their roofs, watering their plants and seeing their harvest grow!
But before this is possible, Yasser has made sure the new constructions will fit our needs and will offer enough protection and opportunities, while remaining small and light enough for the women's roofs. Also the trainer has been selected who will assist in the delivery of the materials and will guide the women during the first months. As soon as all the participants are selected they will hold their first meeting together - that will be followed by many more to be a central tool in their empowerment!
Your support remains very much appreciated and needed, also in the form of sharing this project online with your friends and connections! In addition, donations will be very well used in this project. With 50 dollars Karama can provide better seeds for the participants while 100 dollars will keep the trainer involved for another week in the project to support the women! Any amount will help us to grow this project and help families become more food security while1500USD will include a 10th family in this project!
Keep an eye on our Facebook page if you are keen to see more photo's!
Thank you for being part of this project and the support you give to the women in our society.
Look out for our next update were we will introduce you to some of the new participants!
Dear Karama Supporters!
With this small report we are eager to give you an update on the progress made in the last weeks. Several of you have reached out to us and showed your support – either through donating or asking about the progress. We at Karama really appreciate your help and your efforts to stay in touch – thank you so much! Hopefully this small note – and especially the photos – will keep you connected to our efforts in Deheishe and the work we are trying to do in our society. Do not hesitate to let us know what you think – email, Facebook responses and comments on GlobalGiving will be read by us!
At the end of October we started a new fundraising campaign to create a better protected shield around three rooftop gardens. The plants of these women were more affected by the wind and this experience made Karama realize the gardens could be much for efficient when the cover works as a green house. The previous winter, which normally starts here in December, saw less growth in the gardens than we had hoped. How could we improve this, was the question in our organization. The price of vegetables is often rising in the winter months. Especially this year, as farmers experienced worse weather conditions leading to less harvest, the price of daily used vegetables like tomatoes have again gone up.
The innovative solution we came up with for the women was the creation of an improved greenhouse around the garden! Thicker plastic and a wooden frame makes sure all the heat stays in, while the sun can still reach the garden. With your help we have already been able to fund some of the constructions, though more is needed! In the past weeks we continued to build and take care of our gardens. By now this has led to great growth, as the women were able to keep much higher temperatures inside. The lettuce grew much quicker than normally and also the green beans and cucumbers climbed high in the air. In the new construction, the tubes are lower enabling a more efficient use of the space available. Check out the pictures to see this with your own eyes – the green bean and cucumbers plants eagerly use the robes to climb up and find their way through the whole greenhouse. Now the expected harvest is much larger than we would normally achieve on such a small space!
This year we also experiment with potatoes in the rooftop garden at Karama – so we can hopefully add this stock to the rest of the gardens next season. Starting with some pieces of potatoes on the bottom of a folded woollen sack, we continue to add soil to the sack as the plants are branching out. The sack, that can be unfolded until 1,5 meter high, will allow the potato plants to grow higher will getting roots along this whole height. The roots that will grow in the full height of the sack will deliver much more harvest than grown in a normal tube or field. Take a look at the pictures with this report to see how the plant is growing.
Now the first cucumbers could be eaten by the families this week – a great first result of our hard work. The coming weeks will hopefully give more harvest, tomatoes, green beans and peppers are expected later this year. We will keep you updated when the women will be able to make the first meals from their rooftop production – they are looking very much forward to this and we hope you will too!
Donations are still very much needed to fund the changes made. Your help is much appreciated by all of us in Deheishe – we send you a big thank you for your support!
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