Accelerator Spotlight: They Relied On Conversations While Crowdfunding In Palestine


Jul 25, 2018

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Meet the husband-and-wife team crowdfunding in Palestine to create sustainable jobs for Bedouins.


Sanabel Mana’ and Wisam Salah

Leaders at Bedouins Without Borders

Who The Couple Is:

Sanabel Mana’ is an attorney at law who has worked in nonprofits that help Palestinian children and women. As a refugee from Dheisheh refugee camp, Sanabel is a firm believer in the rights of Bedouin refugees. She is a member of the general assembly of Bedouins Without Borders. Wisam Salah is a Bedouin activist with background in finance. After studying in the United States, Wisam worked for nonprofits for 11 years before founding Bedouins Without Borders in 2015, where he serves as chairman of the board. Wisam believes strongly in saving Bedouin culture and heritage, the Palestinian right to movement, and family unity. Sanabel and Wisam met while working together at Defense for Children International Palestine. They married in 2016.

Q: Your team was initially intimidated by the Accelerator challenge of raising $5,000 from 40 donors in two weeks. What helped you overcome your fears?

A: We talked to the rest of our team and encouraged one another. We remembered that we have many friends in Palestine and abroad that believe in our cause—saving Bedouin culture and heritage in Palestine—so we talked to them before the Accelerator started. We were really impressed by their support.

Q: Which crowdfunding tactics worked well for you, and which didn’t?

A: We did not have much success with mass communications like social media and email, but Facebook Messenger and one-on-one conversations were very successful. However, these tactics were time-consuming and required precise follow-up with people who did not donate at first. First, we reached out to close friends and family. From there, we expanded the circle of people we asked to donate.

Q: What’s something that surprised you during the Accelerator?

A: Bedouins Without Borders is a fairly new organization with very little visibility and a small network, but to see people from all other the planet contributing and talking to their friends about our work was great and encouraging.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you have for future Accelerator participants?

A: Reach out to your friends and don’t be shy. Believe in your goals and trust that others will do the same. Focus on reaching out to people you know, and one by one you’ll reach your goals.

Q: What do you plan to do with the funds you raised during the campaign?

A: We want to start a Bedouin cooperative for women that will help preserve Bedouin culture by generating sustainable jobs and income for 20 Bedouin women in Bethlehem. Because of rising costs of living, shrinking grasslands, and the Israeli occupation of Bedouin land, holding on to the shepherd’s way of life is difficult and most Bedouins live in poverty. Many older women have not passed their skills on to the younger generation, and this cooperative will teach people how to use local traditional materials like wool, sheepskin, bronze, and silver. We hope that by preserving cultural knowledge and tradition, as well as providing jobs, Bedouins’ lives will be changed for the better.

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A farmer in Palestine. Photo by Akram Sirafi.

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