May 18, 2020

A sweet Eid l-Fitr during times of Corona?!

Eid biscuits - will we taste them this year?
Eid biscuits - will we taste them this year?

Dear supporters of Karama, dear lovers of Palestinian food :) 

We from Karama send you warm wishes and hope you and your loved ones are well during these days of Ramadan, during these days of late spring, during these days of social/physical distancing and isolation. 

Muslim communities from all around the world are counting down to the Eid l Fitr, watching the waning moon until we are left with nothing but a slimmer of moonlight. During these last days of Ramadan, people continue to remain steadfast in their fasting, praying and reading of Quran. But also many miss the evenings spent at the local mosque or community center, which normally is an important part of these last days of the holy month. 

While many in the Western world associate Eid l Fitr with sugary sweets and extravagant eating - this is not necessarily the case for many people in Palestine. But one thing that is a common tradition is the making of different types of (date-filled) biscuits with semolina flour. While previous years the women from Karama used to prepare kilo upon kilo of this festive biscuit, it is still unsure if we will be able to do so this year. It is unclear if festivities are allowed to continue this year, and it is also more difficult to gather all the supplies needed for the bakery. 

At time of writing, the bakery has been closed for several months, first for renovations and then due to the Coronavirus restrictions. Karama Organization remains committed however to open as soon as the situation allows and re-start this economic activity for the women to earn an income in a dignified manner. With the renovated kitchen area, the foundation is there for an even better and tastier production process - and the women are eager to get back to work. 

In the mean time, Karama has been very active in society to distribute emergency packages including food and health supplies to the most vulnerable households. With the support of many friends and donors, over 800 food packages have been delivered and 600-kilo chicken, as well as 600 bags of sanitizing products. If you want to support these emergency activities we encourage you to have a look at our new project page here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/solidarity-with-palestinians-fight-against-covid19/

Thanks for reading! 

Food distribution during the coronavirus emergency
Food distribution during the coronavirus emergency
Over 800 vulnerable households reached these days.
Over 800 vulnerable households reached these days.

Links:

Mar 30, 2020

Karama's Field Update - Emergency Action among Corona Crisis (March 2020)

Welcome to Karama's News Update
Welcome to Karama's News Update

Dear reader,

Thanks so much for opening this email and connecting with Karama's work in Palestine. We have rolled into a difficult month, but the increase in solidarity, reflection, and connection that we have noticed (around the world and in our communities) is amazing. So thank you for showing interest and let's get you up-to-date on some of the latest events.

Since you opened this news update, you are probably interested in hearing – what's going on in Palestine and with Karama? Well, just like basically every country around the globe Palestine has been impacted by the global health pandemic and our society is trying to respond as best as it can: restrictions on movement, gatherings, and most economic & educational activities in addition to strong encouragement to stay home, practice physical distancing and good personal hygiene. The number of infected people is still below the 100, but on the rise – also in Palestine, we have not seen the last of this yet, unfortunately. In the field update from the Rooftop Greenhouses project, we wrote the following:

Also in Palestine, people are heavily affected by the health pandemic. By the fear and insecurity that comes with it, by the loss of education, work, and income, by the loss of health and loved ones in a health care system that was already struggling to cope with its patients pre-COVID19. The local authorities have responded very quickly and focused immediately on prevention, knowing that we have only a few hospitals that could take care of infected people. But in Palestine, with prevention comes a curfew, comes a full-on lock-down on cities and villages, come movement restrictions and restrictions on economic, social, educational activities (all eagerly enforced by the Jewish army and the Palestinian police force). Children at home, workers without work, shops closing and business lost. While the large majority of the people are accepting and very much following such restrictions (which were placed on us from Day 1, when the first case of Corona among hotel staff in Bethlehem was revealed), it is also an interesting reminder of how easily Palestinian life is closed down and slowed down (we are used to a quiet a lot here…).

While it is not our intention to only talk about Corona virus related news in our message to you, it is too important not too mention (and several people reached out to us to check in with us – so hopefully this background info satisfies any interest). Naturally, our project activities have slowed down, with no meetings or activities. Agricultural engineers and social workers are following up with the over 190 greenhouse participants by phone. Alhamdulillah many of the women are largely self-sufficient when it comes to their greenhouses so we are seeing many of them who are actively taking care of the gardens. Plans for setting up new greenhouses are postponed. Plans for entrepreneurship development with the women are postponed. Construction in the production unit is delayed.

So while some activities have slowed down, Karama is now focusing its efforts on relieving some of the pressures currently on the refugee camps and supporting local actions. In the coming week, Karama will assist the most vulnerable households in the refugee community in Bethlehem (and when possible in Hebron as well) with packages containing crucial food and hygiene items (rice, oil, chicken, beans, Dettol, soap etc.). Many of our community members have lost their monthly income, and without any savings to spend, this is an extremely hard time for many. One of our current main donors, the European Union, recognized this and is supporting some of these actions. But more help is welcome, so we can include more families in these upcoming emergency action.

Lastly, the Rooftop Greenhouses project just released a new video showcasing some of the key impact the greenhouses are making on our participants' lives. Have a look at what Ne'ma from Al-Arroub refugee camp (close to Hebron) has to say about growing tomatoes on her own roof, and the social changes she noticed in herself. The video is posted on our Facebook (and youtube account) and it would be great if you take a few seconds to like or share with some friends!

Link on youtube to watch and share:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLsl2zjW5kI

Facebook link, video is pinned at top: https://www.facebook.com/karama48

We hope you are all staying safe, healthy and in close connection with loved ones. Don't forget to reach out to one another and keep in touch!

From our rooftop greenhouses project
From our rooftop greenhouses project
From our rooftops in Deheishe,Aida,Azza and Arroub
From our rooftops in Deheishe,Aida,Azza and Arroub

Links:

Mar 27, 2020

Field Update from Palestine - New Video and Corona Virus response

We welcome you to our news update
We welcome you to our news update

Dear global supporters and friends,

What an incredible time we find ourselves in these days. All people, all communities around the world are affected by a virus, an illness that knows no borders and makes no distinction between race, wealth or status. No country will be able to pass through this time without placing major restrictions on its society and economy. Not everybody will be impacted equal, not every society will carry the same costs – and long-term implications are merely guesses at the moment.  

Also in Palestine, people are heavily affected by the health pandemic. By the fear and insecurity that comes with it, by the loss of education, work, and income, by the loss of health and loved ones in a health care system that was already struggling to cope with its patients pre-COVID19. The local authorities have responded very quickly and focused immediately on prevention, knowing that we have only a few hospitals that could take care of infected people. But in Palestine, with prevention comes with a curfew, comes a full-on lock-down on cities and villages, come movement restrictions and restrictions on economic, social, educational activities (all eagerly enforced by the Jewish army and the Palestinian police force). Children at home, workers without work, shops closing and business lost. While the large majority of the people are accepting and very much following such restrictions (which were placed on us from Day 1, when the first case of Corona among hotel staff in Bethlehem was revealed), it is also an interesting reminder of how easily Palestinian life is closed down and slowed down (we are used to a quiet a lot here…).

While it is not our intention to only talk about Corona virus related news in our message to you, it is too important not to mention (and several people reached out to us to check in with us – so hopefully this background info satisfies any interest). Naturally, our project activities have slowed down, with no meetings or activities. Agricultural engineers and social workers are following up with the over 190 greenhouse participants by phone. Alhamdulillah many of the women are largely self-sufficient when it comes to their greenhouses so we are seeing many of them who are actively taking care of the gardens. Plans for setting up new greenhouses are postponed. Plans for entrepreneurship development with the women are postponed. Construction is delayed. Karama is focusing some of its attention now on emergency support to the most vulnerable households, to support them with basic food items; rice, oil, beans, chicken as well as cleaning products, soap and disinfectants. Our major donor the European Union is so flexible to support some of this assistance, but any support is welcome and will enable us to reach more. All our emergency efforts are undertaken in connection with the local health authorities (and will also follow all of their guidelines to protect the safety of our staff and participants).  

During these difficult days, what better than to reflect on the amazing results we have reached as a community in the last three project years?! With that aim, we are sharing with you our newly released video, showing one of our participants from Al-Arroub refugee camp (close to Hebron city). She talks passionately about the impact the greenhouse has made on her life in the last three years (with English subtitles!). Thanks to Ne'ma and the very dedicated project staff for your hard work and commitment and to our donor the European Union for standing with us! 

The video is also posted on our Facebook (and youtube account) and it would be great if you take a few seconds to like or share with some friends!

Link on youtube to watch and share:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLsl2zjW5kI

Facebook link, video is pinned at top: https://www.facebook.com/karama48

We hope you are all staying safe, healthy and in close connection with loved ones. Don't forget to reach out to one another and keep in touch! 

All kinds of vegetables growing in the gardens
All kinds of vegetables growing in the gardens
Watch and share our new project video!
Watch and share our new project video!

Links:

 
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