Jul 24, 2020

An enriching field trip

Our NGO partners with a PARC representative (left)
Our NGO partners with a PARC representative (left)

For "Gardens, Goats, and More," Rebuilding Alliance wanted to increase our chance of success as much as possible. In our research, we spoke to different groups that had experience in small-scale agriculture and income-generation projects so we could learn from their experiences. 

One of these organizations was Palestine's Agriculture Development Association (self-styled as PARC) which does work in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They are very experienced in developmental farming projects ranging from greenhouses to providing farm animals and birds. After a preliminary videoconference (at 6 AM in California and 4 PM in Gaza), they generously offered to take our Palestinian NGO partners on a field trip to show one of their succesful projects. Our high school interns, Lama and Mazen, also tagged along. Lama's dream is to be a cowgirl in Gaza. She wants to have a cow and distribute the milk to needy families. Although this proposal is not part of "Gardens, Goats, and More," Rebuilding Alliance still thought that Lama and Mazen could learn a lot from the trip.  

On July 5th, a representative from PARC took them to a thriving garden run by a grandmother. She has been able to support her family just from the income generated by this garden and farm animals given to her by PARC. She even has a barter arrangement with the local market to trade food she has grown for food that vendors sell in the market.

Our partners sounded so excited when they reported back on their day with PARC, and we all learned so much. What was key to the PARC program's success came down to two factors. One, they were very selective about their candidates. They conducted extensive interviews with them and visited in-person to confirm their capacity for animals and gardening. Two, there was a lot of support before and during the process. Candidates were required to attend workshops before starting. Veterinarians conducted regular check-ups on the animals and taught them how to deal with emergencies. All this support was available all the way to the last day of the project. As a result, all of PARC's beneficiaries from this program—not just the owner shown below—still have thriving gardens and/or animals today. This is all the more remarkable because PARC ended this program two years ago when their funding ran out.

All in all, the field trip was very educational. Rebuilding Alliance is now in the process of working with our partners to identify beneficiaries. Our NGO partners are now choosing families for their pilot projects. More news to come.

The owner of the garden (center) shows us her crop
The owner of the garden (center) shows us her crop
Lama-Rebuilding Alliance intern & aspiring cowgirl
Lama-Rebuilding Alliance intern & aspiring cowgirl
May 26, 2020

Lifting Families up in Gaza

Mr. Khader, a 50 year old widower, started a textile factory 20 years ago in Gaza, but the blockade imposed on Gaza 14 years ago caused the economy to collapse and forced his business to close. To make matters worse, his wife became seriously ill and died over a year ago, leaving him and his family of eight children (two of them visually impaired) traumatized and in debt. Thanks to funding received from the Gaza Emergency Relief Fund through your help, Rebuilding Alliance and our local partner the Youth Vision Society, helped bring some stability and hope to Mr. Khader and his family.  

A grant from The Gaza Emergency Relief Fund allowed Mr. Khader to pay back some of his debt and to rent and refurbish a small shop from which he can sell basic goods to earn a living.

As Rebuilding Alliance's Gaza City Coordinator, I worked with the Youth Vision Society who contracted for and oversaw the work on the store-front which included restoring walls, painting, updating electrical wiring, changing the doors, and putting up new shelves. Photographer Sanad Latifa did these photos.

With his modest storefront refurbished and re-stocked, Mr. Khader is now back in business and able to support his family. He also doesn't have to worry about losing his home as we helped him repay back rent and take out a six-month lease. You can imagine the relief he felt as this burden was taken off his shoulders.

And with this turn of events, Mr. Khader’s youngest daughter, who recently finished high school but whose educational prospects were uncertain due to their finances, now hopes to be able to register as a freshman in college as soon as possible.

"Thank you Rebuilding Alliance,” Mr. Khader said, “for giving me a new life when I thought I lost all hope."

We are happy to report that through your generous contribution to the Gaza Emergency Relief Fund we will continue to be able to help many families like that of Mr. Khader get back on their feet. We hope to tell you soon about the next family we're working with through this important project.


P.S. Given the COVID-19 situation, we have also transferred money from the Gaza Emergency Relief Fund to our NGO partners to provide hygiene kits for 256 families. These kits contain soap, hand sanitizer, and masks. We have done this in an effort to stay ahead of the potential spread of the virus in Gaza. To learn more about our COVID-19 efforts, you can view reports from our COVID-19 Relief Trust

Links:

May 12, 2020

Rebuilding Alliance and Taawon Doubled Your Power

Staff at Al Awda Hospital try on their new PPEs
Staff at Al Awda Hospital try on their new PPEs

Dear Friend,

We're honored and proud to announce a new partnership with Taawon (Welfare Foundation). They have matched your donation, dollar for dollar, and enabled us to give double the medical supplies to our NGO hospital partners and feed double the families, and do so starting this week, in the holy month of Ramadan. The $54,000 contributed via GlobalGiving is now a grant totaling $108,000!

 

"We are very happy today to have gained a new partner with whom our cooperation commences in jointly fighting the COVID-19 virus in Gaza by providing the health sector in Gaza with supplies and aiding the marginalized families with food during the holy month of Ramadan,” said Yara Salem, Director General of Taawon.

Rebuilding Alliance's two NGO hospital partners are receiving PPE’s, COVID-19 test kits, medicines, and supplies. Founded in 1882, the Al Ahli Arab Hospital (the National Arab Hospital), a Christian hospital under the care of the Anglican Church, is Gaza's oldest hospital. Al Awda Hospital (The Return Hospital), run by the Union of Healthcare Workers Committees, serves over a quarter of the population of the Gaza Strip. In addition, a requirement we included in our agreement with Taawon is that our program must buy masks & protective suits from Gaza factories. This helps to provide jobs in an economy suffering from chronic unemployment now over 60%; Gaza’s economy has been devastated by a 14-year blockade—the longest in human history.

800 families in need will be given food baskets that contain two weeks worth of food and soap too. Handwashing with soap breaks down the COVID-19 virus.

For food distribution, our long-term partners are the Women's Programs Center-Rafah, Youth Vision Society, the Al Basma Club for the Disabled, and the Al Amal Society for Rehabilitation. Each NGO partner chooses their list of families in need, comparing with lists developed by each municipality to be sure that everyone is treated fairly.  Taawon has asked that Al Amal Society for Rehabilitation be the one designated to purchase all the foodstuffs and deliver to the other three.  Each of the four will distribute to their own list of 200 families in need. Rebuilding Alliance did this food program with the partners last year and the year before, distributing a total of 600 baskets. They always do an amazing job.

If you haven't yet, please watch the video of our first report where you can meet staff of Ahli Arab and Al Awda Hospital as well as Unipal, the Gaza manufacturer of protective suits and masks.

Rebuilding Alliance is grateful for your outpouring of support. The groundswell of donations we received in GlobalGiving's LittleXLittle campaign attracted Taawon's interest and we worked hard to close a partnering agreement that has the support of all our local NGO partners in Gaza and is also in full compliance with all U.S. laws and rules. Taawon is a two-time Mahatma Gandhi Award winner that invests $50 million annually in programs that benefit 1 million Palestinians. Their partnerships include the British Council, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Lutheran World Federation. We're proud to be in such illustrious company.

Your donation made this possible. Now we get to do even more.

P.S. Would you like to help raise more funds for this program?  We've formed a Whatsapp group to support one another in creative fundraising for the Palestine, We Care COVID-19 Relief Trust.  You can do this from home and interact directly with our team in the U.S. and in Gaza  -  Apply here

The food being delivered to 800 families this week
The food being delivered to 800 families this week
Our first batch of PPEs, delivered to Al Awda Hosp
Our first batch of PPEs, delivered to Al Awda Hosp

Links:

 
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