May 26, 2021

New Research by Karama Organization - Impact of Corona on Refugee Women

Women in one of the greenhouses
Women in one of the greenhouses

Salaam aleikum dear friends and supporters.

We greet you with peace, with safety. Even if we haven't experienced much peace in the last weeks. Even if we maybe don't feel peacful inside ourselves. It is according to the islamic teaching and our life philosophy that we should great each other, and ourselves, and all energies around us with the words "peace be with you". We don't hold on to feelings of insecurity, or start with fear and anger, we remind eachother of the Source of Peace.

Thanks for reading and thank you for all the different ways people have reached out to us in the last few weeks. It means so much to hear your words of support and we were amazed to see the signs of solidarity in many cities around the world. Don't stop. A ceasefire is not an end to the occupation. A "return to calm" is not an end to the illegal blockade. Journalists leaving does not mean apartheid ended. Please continue to engage in any way that feels right for you.

Karama Organization continues to support the local response to COVID19 and connects regularly with local health institutes and organizations to address needs and promote adherance to health and safety regulations. One of the ways Karama hoped to make a contribution, was by undertaking a small research among our rooftop greenhouse participants to discuss and analyse how refugee communities have been impacted by the COVID19 crisis.

I had two of the most successful [vegetable] seasons during COVID 19. I was very happy to stay connected with the engineer through continuous video calls, she guided me through the entire planting seasons. It is true that I did not sell my harvest this year, but I planted a variety of crops including peppers, beans and tomatoes, which I shared with my family and neighbors. This is the most I have been thankful for the greenhouse, as it helped me in a difficult time.
- 34-year old participant from Al-Arroub Camp

Karama was amazed to see that almost all participants from the 220 greenhouses have continued succesfully planting and harvesting their greenhouses. This means the trainings in the previous years have made women capable to independently take care of their greenhouse. Production levels (kilos harvested) was also comparable to pre-COVID19. Only, women sold less. Most was distributed for free. This is likely to the harsh economic situation and a sign of solidarity among the women and their communities.

In the areas of economy and education, we are greatly concerned by the negative impact of the virus and its implications. Especially students from the UNRWA schools have suffered greatly from the closure of schools and the suspension of activities. For most of them its 1,5 years of education lost. We are afraid this impacts not only their immediate development but also their future changes on employment. Especially since they seem to have suffered more than the students that attend private schools.

Since many years I am an inventive woman and I have worked various jobs to support my family. Due to COVID19 I lost my most recent job, which was a setback for my household. I know how to stretch every shekel that I have though. Soon I will find something else to earn. But it will be much easier if can move freely again. The greenhouse is a helpful way to support my family, we eat from it and I used to bring to Karama to get some extra income.

55-year old participant from Deheishe camp.

Both the women and their husbands/main income provider were employed less, with 93% of the respondents saying their incomce is less stable currently than before the crisis. 

Remarkably however, many women report on the increased support and respect they received from their children and husband. Especially during times of lockdowns (which were many in the last 15 months) all household members spent more time together and helped each other. For example, many women engaged their children in the care for the greenhouses.


Thank you for making this possible. We hope you are encouraged to continue to engage with our cause and we would love to hear from you.

Read the full research below! LINK 

Women showing off their winter harvest
Women showing off their winter harvest

Links:

May 24, 2021

We had to change our Eid wishes... [Message from Palestine]

Eid biscuits production by Karama's bakery
Eid biscuits production by Karama's bakery

Greetings from occupied Palestine. 

This message was supposed to be different. In our drafts, a wonderful Eid message was scheduled to go out on the 13th of May to mark the Eid lFitr holiday and show the progress of the women in the local bakery. But then the repression of Palestinians in Jerusalem increased, then forced displacements in Sheikh Jarrah came to a boiling point, then the violent attacks on worshippers in the Al Aqsa mosque. The bombardments started, and hundreds of innocent lives were lost... pain and damage inflicted on whole families, neighbourhoods and cities. 

So our scheduled email was deleted. Words of "Eid Mubarak" or Happy Eid were out of place. But what else to say, how to put into words the amount of loss, desperation, anger or determination we experienced? How to express our gratitude for the solidarity in a few lines? How to formulate to you our hopes for an end to violence, occupation and apartheid, and dreams of a generation who can grow up, learn from past mistakes and live in freedom??

After the ceasefire is holding in Gaza and the bombing has stopped, we reach out to you again. We thank you for seeing us and connecting with Karama and Palestinians in so many different ways. We want you to know that now more than ever we need you to talk about Palestine. To listen to and look at Palestinians. To share and discuss what you've seen. We have seen articles stating "outsiders should just stay out of this "conflict" and keep their opinion to themselves, it isn’t helpful". But that totally overlooks the enabling factor government, businesses and consumers globally have to these different forms of apartheid, occupation and oppression. Everybody has a role to play to work towards social justice everywhere and we are so grateful for all the people doing their bit. 

Karama is honored and happy to tell you Karama's bakery is running well; the Eid biscuits were another hit this year. Many orders were produced in the last weeks of different breads and dishes. Did you know we now have the tools to cook full meals such as waraq dawali, the delicious stuffed vine leaves. Yes even Palestinian families get lazy sometimes and order their traditional dishes as take out! :) Our marketing strategy has improved with your help! New flyers have been created as well as boxes and bags with our logo. 

We will continue to update you on our activities to address the needs in our project communities, with the greenhouses, local entrepreneurial activities and emergency distributions. Connect to us on our website and Facebook if you haven't already and let's stay in touch.

Thank you again for being part of this initiative and inshallah you will visit us as soon as the situation allows! 

Work in the Deheishe bakery...
Work in the Deheishe bakery...
Selling took place in local stores & social media
Selling took place in local stores & social media

Links:

Mar 20, 2021

Karama stepping up efforts to provide life-saving support during COVID19

Karama providing Oxygen Concentrators for patients
Karama providing Oxygen Concentrators for patients

Need for mechanical oxygen is enormous; already 5 oxygen concentrators for at-home use purchased by Karama.

Dear global supporters,

A year into the COVID19 crisis, the creaks and holes in the Palestinian economic and health system are clearly visible. Without access to vaccinations in sight, society sees another peak of cases and hospitalizations. While schools and shops were open for some time at the start of the year, lockdown rules are back to be very strict again.

This affects many households badly. If one family member is infected, nobody can leave the house or continue their daily activities. This affects the household income, and their opportunities for education. They also cannot go out to buy medicine, groceries, or any other needs, with neighbours or relatives needing to jump in and help. This is not always enough though, and many families have made appeals to Karama to assist in specific needs.

“The hardest part was not to be around my children and be able to take care of them” shares Afaaf who was hospitalized with COVID19 for over a month.

One of these severe cases was Karama participant and mother Afaaf. She and some of her children became infected with the virus. Sadly Afaaf’s situation very quickly deteriorated, and she was hospitalized with a heavy lung infection. As all know, oxygen is crucial in the fight against COVID19 and many patients rely on the mechanical provision of oxygen when their own lungs are failing. Also Afaaf was placed on a breathing machine for most of her hospital stay as her body was fighting this difficult virus. Her daughters and husband feared for her life. After several weeks in the ICU, her body begin to recover, and a plan was made for her return home. The medical staff advised her to obtain an oxygen concentrator for at-home use, so she could continue her recovery among her children.

However, access to life-saving tools like oxygen concentrators is not equal.

As Afaaf’s household was already struggling with medical bills and decreased income, she desperately looked for other actors to support her. This triggered Karama to step up its efforts in the medical field and connect with other local health providers to contribute to a solution for this shortage of mechanical oxygen. Oxygen concentrators are a relatively easy and affordable way for medium severe cases to receive oxygen in flexible locations, either at home or in health clinics. So far, with the support from our friends around the world, Karama could step in and purchase five oxygen concentrators.

This allowed Afaaf to go home safely and continue her recovery among her children.

The needs are high in Palestine at the moment. The ICU’s are full with people fighting for their lives. Many more people are struggling at home and could benefit from medical equipment in the safety of their own home. Karama is committed to continue to coordinate with local institutes and assist with the purchase of equipment whenever needed and possible.

Thank you for standing with us. 

Warm greetings from Palestine.

Afaf in her greenhouse during better times.
Afaf in her greenhouse during better times.

Links:

 
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