The past months were full of intense events for all Palestinians, and also in Deheishe all people were heavily affected by this. With all the recent violence, new intentions and promises, the seasons remain steadfast and the earth continues to provide us with harvest. This year, the rooftop gardens placed by Karama Organization on tens of rooftops in Deheishe and Aida Camp experience their first winter. The seeds for the winter crops are planted, and the plastic covers for extra protection are placed over the metal frame. Now the cover will work as a greenhouse, keeping the warmth inside and the cold out, optimizing the harvest in the coming months.
After seven months in the project, all participants noticed how their lives are affected by the project. One of the participants remembers how she started out skeptical of the idea: “In the beginning I didn't think it would work, but once I tried it I saw it was a good idea and would encourage anyone to have a greenhouse.” Especially after seeing the results, Hajar Hamdan, responsible for a household of five, admits: “It saves a lot of money and it's great to practice being a farmer. It makes me happy working inside our greenhouse.” In a recent CNN news report she adds laughing: “My neighbors often come round asking if we have any to spare, which makes me very popular.”
Her story shows, the gardens are still helping the women and their families to find strength in the chaos of daily life in the camp. Also, the facts prove how families can reduce their expenses on the costly vegetables, saving money for other important costs. This project goal of self-reliance is more urgent than ever, especially now the economic situation in the Palestinian Territories keeps on declining in the past months, and the financial problems of the Palestinian Authority worsen. A recent IMF report warns again for the economic decline in all months of 2012, with raising unemployment levels. The refugees in the camp are hit extra hard by these developments. More than half of the employed adults in Deheishe are working for the PA, explains the UNRWA representative in Deheishe, Mustafa Younis, in an interview with newspaper The National. “Its financial ills have led to a worsening of poverty and unemployment in the camp.”
These warning signs were heard by several organization however, and both the UNRWA and fresh handmade cosmetics store Lush recently pledged to give more funds to our project! With their valuable investment, an additional 65 gardens can be set up, raising more families out of this dangerous situation. Karama Organization is very excited to start the new gardens, especially since families from many camps continue to approach our organization for help. Now, with this great gesture from the UNRWA and Lush finally more people can benefit! Karama is also especially thankful for the team from Karama UK who worked very hard in the United Kingdom to secure funding.
If enough gardens are established in the coming weeks, and the production remains as high as in the first gardens, we can establish a collective association. Then people can sell the vegetables they have left over at a cheaper price, below the current high market price, to let more people benefit in the camps. In this way, a one time investment in the materials for the gardens, has to potential of making a whole community less dependent on outside financial sources!
We still need as many people as possible to be part of this! Anybody could help make these gardens possible, either through donating on the Global Giving website or by spreading the word. Why not share some of the newspaper articles with your friends on Facebook or Twitter? With the links below you can easily share them on-line. And make sure not forget to mention, that currently all monthly recurring donations will still be MATCHED! So your donation will be worth double if you start giving before the 31th of December! Do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you want more information about any of the things mentioned here.
We hope we can count on your support again and from Karama, we sent you a warm thank you for your continuing interest for our projects!
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