Nov 15, 2020

We're Hopeful! Restarting our social business during COVID19

Working hard at Karama's production unit!
Working hard at Karama's production unit!

Dear global friends,

How have you been? How have you been feeling about the change of seasons, the last season before we exit this year 2020? Let me tell you, here in Palestine it is still nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Many ups and downs in the past few months. But something we keep holding on to; hope. Hope that our women will know better days, that our children will know better days, that our hard-working small business and entrepreneurs will know better days. That the hardships and the many lessons this time brings will pay off for a better tomorrow. A greener, a freer, and more respectful tomorrow for all our women and children.

And Karama Organization has been taking many practical steps towards this in the last month. Initially, a lot of our energy was put into emergency distributions of food, non-food items, and cash (with over 3000 households reached). Then we worked on community rebuilding and resilience, through our Cash-for-Work program that so far has supported more than 55 households. But now, the staff has been working hard to restart the bakery activities and the production unit in Deheishe camp. These social business activities will employ many women from the camp, provide them with a fair income, and offer healthy, delicious (and often organic) food products in our regions. So we all are very excited to keep these social enterprises moving, even during the ongoing COVID19 crisis in Palestine and globally.

We have to adapt though. Due to Coronavirus, schools and organizations are not always open, sometimes businesses still close – making the marketing of our products much harder. The same for accessing our raw materials, limited mobility makes this difficult at times. The women we employ all need to receive protective materials, and ventilation and physical distance possibilities need to be up-to-date in our working and selling areas. But where there’s a will, there’s a way!

The team has been active with brand development, testing equipment, training new employees, piloting (and tasting) products and creating marketing/visibility items. Have a look at these short clips of the women in action and tell us what you think!

Link to our Youtube channel. 

Lastly, we couldn’t be more proud to see our social business initiative been recommended for a global award: the Global Enterp Awards to support social businesses working towards the Social Development Goals! We will let you know what happens next, but we are so proud and excited to be short-listed.

Thank you for supporting this initiative in Palestine!

You can check out the promotional clip here, and don’t forget to reply to us!

Links:

Aug 12, 2020

Summer wishes from Karama's team in Palestine

Proud participants going strong during the crisis.
Proud participants going strong during the crisis.

We hope everybody is in good health and safety! While previously this time of the year in Karama was marked with summer camps, field trips, and international guests and volunteers, these days are now focussed on supporting the resilience of our communities and helping most vulnerable families in Palestine. If you are interested in hearing more about what Karama is doing during the COVID19 crisis in Palestine, check out our COVID19 response page on GlobalGiving and our special webpage.

This newsletter we would love to take the opportunity to get to know some of the women of the project more personally. With over 200 participants spread out in five refugee camps, each woman has a unique story and special contribution to this initiative. Through the small group sessions, intensive interaction with the project’s engineers and social worker and many initiatives for collaboration and companionship, many women notice a change in their personalities and outlook on life through the greenhouse.

One of these women is Ne’ama from Arroub refugee camp who joined the project in 2017 and received a greenhouse on the rooftop of her father’s home. Ever since the project activities expanded to the Hebron region, the women from Al-Arroub camp have made an amazing contribution; their enthusiasm and commitment to their greenhouses is well-known in the region. 28-year old Ne’ama has benefitted in her own words in uncountable ways from the greenhouse; from the green views, from the feeling of being productive with her own hands, from the financial benefits, from the solidarity it creates among women and from connecting to a platform where she has found her voice and can express her big heart for her society. Especially during the recent Coronavirus crisis, Ne’ama has lost her shyness and passionately assists in the community response. Read her full story on the project website here.

Ne’ama is even featured in a success story video made earlier this year by Karama Organization. If you haven’t seen it yet you can find it here on Karama’s Youtube.

Another proud participant is Intisar from Aida camp, who joined the project only a few months before the pandemic hit our society and restricted project activities. Even though Intisar has benefitted less from weekly meetings, she has still been able to learn all the necessary skills with help from the engineers, home visits, and social media interaction. She is growing cucumbers in her first season and proudly feeding her family from her hard work on her roof. Read more updates through our recent Facebook posts.

 

Thank you all for making this possible! 

 

Stay safe and stay connected! 

Even without meetings women continue in daily care
Even without meetings women continue in daily care
Proud Ne'ama in her greenhouse!
Proud Ne'ama in her greenhouse!

Links:

Aug 12, 2020

Update from Karama Organization

Example of cash for work program in the camps
Example of cash for work program in the camps

Dear readers, friends, and supporters of Karama Organization,

Thank you so much for connecting with our work and sharing in solidarity during these months of increased vulnerability and uncertainty in all parts of the world. As a global community, we truly find ourselves collectively impacted and forced to change in many ways.

The households that Karama serves have experienced both the negative impacts as well as some of the positive sides to the COVID19 crisis, that still keeps Palestine under an emergency situation. In the words of some of Karama’s participants:

“Through the coronavirus, we were forced to stay at home and limit our social circle as much as possible. Though hard, it also made my kids stay more at home and show more interest in the greenhouse we have on our roof from Karama. We now spent many afternoons as a family on the roof, planting, harvesting and chatting together next to the green space, which I really enjoyed.”

“My son did not work much during the emergency period as he could not move around freely. Though hard on him financially, on the positive side, he worked together with his younger brother on a sitting area on our roof which we decorated with lights and some beautiful flowers. Before we never had the time or energy to work and sit together on the roof, but now it has become one of our favorite family activities.”

“Even though I try to keep positive, the crisis brought me and my family a lot of stress. My husband lost his job, and each week I do not know how we can provide for our family. I have several young children who all have been out of school since March and need their education and entertainment each day – which can tire me out. It also increased my worries about them, I am afraid to let them go out much or meet with friends, in fear one of us gets sick.”

Karama has been quick since the early beginnings of the emergency in Palestine to respond with food distributions as well as health and hygiene items in coordination with local actors. As the crisis continued, the team continued to look for other ways to support vulnerable households. A dignified and effective method that we apply together with our donors and supports are direct cash transfers (with the amount depending on family size) as well as engagement of workers in Cash for Work programs in the camps. (With the selection of recipients and implementation naturally taking place in cooperation with local actors such as UNRWA and ministries.) This can help families meet their daily household needs while choosing themselves how to spend the money and set priorities.

So far we have been able to support vulnerable families with a little over 50,000 USD in cash transfers! Over 170 households in the different refugee camps have received a monthly salary that has allowed them to prioritize their health, food or educational needs. Through the innovative Cash for Work programs, this also had lead to beautiful improvements in the local communities; through painting walls and doors, renovated sheds, and planted trees. (Check out more pictures in our Facebook folder)

Karama hopes to continue with these programs as long as society needs. Many families have still NOT been able to return to work or economic activities and Karama is happy to jump in and fulfill a supportive role in society.

Thank you for making this possible!

Meaningful historical wallpaintings in Deheishe
Meaningful historical wallpaintings in Deheishe
Cash transfer as a dignified way of support
Cash transfer as a dignified way of support

Links:

 
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