Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe

 
$6,010
$33,990
Raised
Remaining
Benefits of rooftop gardens also reach young women
Benefits of rooftop gardens also reach young women

Let us start with thanking you for the support you have given us in the last months!

In Karama’s previous update we shared with you a bit of the skills that so many women learn during their involvement in the Rooftop Garden project. We mentioned how it increases their self-esteem and also their social and communication skills; a great improvement that helps them to feel better in more aspects of their live! But the story does not end here...

This month we want to give you a bit more insight in the current situation in the camp and explain why we as Karama Team focus on youth as and self-sustainability. In Palestine, we see young new leaders are eager to stand up, change-makers make a difference and inspire their community from within. By giving them responsibilities in our activities in Karama, they are able to grow into their future roles.

When you talk to the youth in Deheishe Camp, you can feel their energy to make a change. Therefor it’s even harder to see that due to a lack of possibilities, this energy grows less every day. Not being channeled to a good cause they slowly lose their force.

Image when you were younger and had many dreams and plans for your future and how you were able to set this in motion to achieve these dreams. Now imagine those same dreams but no means or possibilities whatsoever... Just having to stand by and see your dreams slowly fade away. Eventually this generation is losing hope and is unable to make a fair living for themselves. The negative circumstances lead them to poverty, depression and so on.

Reports confirm that unemployment and poverty in the Palestinian Territories leads young people to frustration and despair. It harms their dignity and creates social and political problems.

The conditions in the Refugee Camps not only affect the mind but it also affects the body. Limited exercise, unhealthy diets (minimum intake of fresh vegetables and maximum intake of sugar), stress; all these factors contribute to health risks. "Obesity, smoking and inactivity are the main health risks for young people," a report says about the Palestinian youth. As stated in an article by Hazem Balousha "A number of studies have shown that 25% of adolescents and 30% of girls are obese or overweight. An UNRWA study said that 70% of females of reproductive age and more than half of women under 30 are overweight."

 

Let’s meet Ibrahim, he is a 22 year old refugee from the Deheishe Camp. Although he studied at a University, he is not able to find a job that matches his education. Not wanting to give up under the circumstances he now works at a fruit stand at the side of one of the main streets to Bethlehem. Here he earns about 30 Shekels a day for working as much as 8- 10 hours a day…

Please keep in mind that 5 Shekel is about 1 Euro and the taxi drive to his work place already costs him 3 Shekel! Now he is barely able to contribute to his family, not even thinking about saving for his future. You can imagine this can break somebodies spirit. But you will see that the youth here have a strong spirit and are willing to work hard to make a difference for themselves.

Not willing to abandon them to their fates, Karama offers the youth of Deheishe a first step to a better life. And we hope you will do this with us. We believe that together we can make a difference.

 

Benefits of projects focused on youth by Karama

One of our goals is to empower young people to have the ability and life skills to change their own future. By giving them a safe (learning-) environment where they can put their skill in to use, they can gain work and life experience that will prepare them for a future where they can be self-reliant. By doing so, this will increase their quality of life. That is why, in the next round of rooftop gardens starting this spring we want to engage the young people from Deheishe. The UN Youth Fund has already showed interest in funding gardens for young refugee women in the camp and Karama is eager to engage them in this initiative!

Will you help us to include more participants, so we can also engage young men like Ahmed in this project? With 600 dollars we can start an extra garden. If 12 of our supporters donate 50 dollars we can already help Ahmed to produce on his roof!

Producing food will give the youth in Deheishe Camp both physical independence and psychological freedom from the occupation. They will learn to be able to take care of themselves and maybe even to take care of their families in the future. And pass their skills onto their own children.

Something we see too often over the past few years is the outflow of educated, talented youth from Palestine abroad, unable to find a fair job in their own country. This emigration of intelligent, well-educated individuals to somewhere else for better pay or conditions causes Palestine to lose skilled and ambitious people. Something we are so bad in need for! We will go against this trend and ‘brain drain’ and maybe even inspire those who left the land to come back and use it. To plant and harvest together for a happier and healthier life.

 

Keep the Palestinian youth in your thoughts!:)

We love to hear from you!

Young volunteers developing their skills as guides
Young volunteers developing their skills as guides

Links:

Patience is needed when planting your seeds..
Patience is needed when planting your seeds..

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. 

Within some days, seedlings come up!
Within some days, seedlings come up!
This garden is clean and ready to be filled again!
This garden is clean and ready to be filled again!
Gaza - destruction and recovery
Gaza - destruction and recovery

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)

 

Progress on the roofs
Progress on the roofs
Meeting with experts
Meeting with experts

Links:

See the report here: http://youtu.be/qUfzflYqQeE
See the report here: http://youtu.be/qUfzflYqQeE

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!

Women
Women's meeting in Karama
Visit Aljazeera crew
Visit Aljazeera crew
The participants discuss the gardens with trainer.
The participants discuss the gardens with trainer.

Links:

New materials are being purchased
New materials are being purchased

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!

The construction is being made precisely to fit
The construction is being made precisely to fit
Tomatoes get more expensive to buy, but grow well
Tomatoes get more expensive to buy, but grow well
The camp; where greenhouses could cover the roofs.
The camp; where greenhouses could cover the roofs.
View of the camp; concrete houses and water tanks.
View of the camp; concrete houses and water tanks.

Links:


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Project Leader

Yasser Alhaj

Bethlehem, West Bank Palestine

Where is this project located?

Map of Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe