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A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp

by Karama Organisation for Women and Children's Development
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A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
A Safe Place for Kids in Deheishe Refugee Camp
Creativity and new skills during Karama's camps
Creativity and new skills during Karama's camps

Dear friends and supporters, 

With the first raindrops of the season falling on our streets, cars, fields and schoolchildren today, we can't avoid the feeling that the summer in Palestine has really come to a close. We are thankful for the change of season, the rain on a thirsty land, cleaning the ripe olives on our olive trees. But it is long time that we are sharing some of the successes and smiles from the last months though, showing you what Karama was able to organize last summer - with your help!

While the rooftop greenhouses project demands most of our attention (oh and don't forget the community bakery!) it still is a priority for the Karama team to fill the summer with activities for the children of the camp to recreate, relax and learn something new and interesting. It was the aim, like each year, to not just offer a space to laugh and have fun, but also to grow personalities, open up minds and leave the children better equipped and inspired to walk into a new school year. Cause in Palestine, you never know what the year brings...or what the day brings. 

The summer activities had lots of creativity going on, but also field excursions that stressed the historical and geographical meanings and values of the different field sites. The camps had a stricter age division so the children could really benefit and grow with their peers. The activities in this way could be better adjusted to the interests and capacities of each age group. See the pictures for an impression of some of the activities. 

Not only did Karama organize activities in the center, but we also partnered with other local institutes to offer much more to the children. For the first time, Karama partnered in a music summer camp, that introduced the children to new skills and endless creativity. What a fun way to spend the long summer break! 

Thank you for your support and ongoing interest in our work. We are excited about the upcoming plans and activities for Karama and look forward to sharing you in these. Come by or send an email - we would love to hear from you. 

Best wishes from the whole Karama team. 

New experiences during Karama's summer camps
New experiences during Karama's summer camps
Field visits to explore new aspects of Palestine
Field visits to explore new aspects of Palestine
Boys and Girls from different age groups attended
Boys and Girls from different age groups attended

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Proud women in one of their rooftop greenhouses
Proud women in one of their rooftop greenhouses

Dear reader, dear supporter of Karama's mission in Palestine! 

Thanks so much for reading, and for being part of our Karama family. Maybe you have visited us recently, or maybe many many years ago. Great you still have us in your thoughts! We just wanted to pop into your inbox to catch up with you on a few things... 

1) Do you know our food security/economic empowerment program has jumped to 110 participants and greenhouses? All these greenhouses are constructed on the roofs of women who are dealing with poverty, high levels of stress and sometimes even depression or PTSD. The women from five different refugee camps group together in small gatherings, meeting bi-weekly to learn and grow together. Not only in agricultural topics but also in social, emotional and health related topics! Just look at them being proud in this photo :) 

2) The Rooftop Greenhouses project has a new website, to keep you posted on all things green and productive! :) If you haven't checked it out yet... have a look at www.karamagreenhouses.org. Let us know how things are looking from your end - this website is built by our own volunteers (with supervision from a kind friend who is a professional) so we are open for your comments. Pictures looking blurry? Color scheme looking ugly - just hit reply and let us know! 

3) Other activities are ongoing in Karama - one of the recent ones being a food distribution project supported by our kind friends from charity Penny Appeal. They have gathered funding yet another time to donate almost 500 food packages for the most needy families in Deheishe camp!! It is always an amazing experience to have our friends with many different backgrounds come to Deheishe and help us make a difference in the lives of our community members. And it seems the fun was mutual! Thanks again for joining us! 

4) Our last message... after a project website, now Karama's full website is really in need of urgent updates! We would love to redesign this space but the process will take a bit of time. For now; let us know - what do you like to read here? What do you think should not be missed on this page that can introduce Karama to a lot more people around the world? And will you check back for regular posts or should we use focus Facebook/Instagram to stay in touch with you? Would be so nice to hear a few lines from you! 

Not unimportantly: if you are somebody with great website design skills or know somebody who would be able to help out for a few hours on this project - let us know! 

Warm wishes from the whole Karama team and thank you for supporting all our work among the Palestinian women and children! 

  • Ramadan is upcoming! We hope you keep us in your thoughts during this summer! 
Friends of Penny Appeal visiting the Karama center
Friends of Penny Appeal visiting the Karama center
One of the beneficiaries of the food distribution
One of the beneficiaries of the food distribution
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Freshly baked breads - who wants a taste?!
Freshly baked breads - who wants a taste?!

Welcome back to a new update from Karama Organization. After months of preparations, procurement and training; Karama is proud to continue with another initiative in the refugee camp. Inspired by and led by our female participants, a new space has been renovated and equipped to become a bakery and a community kitchen. A community kitchen for pride and health! 

This idea has been long kept by the community for many reasons; there is a great need for more sustainable job creation and economic development in the camp, as well as a growing concern for the diet of our children and families. That is why our bakery and community kitchen will focus on locally-grown, healthy products, that do not contain added sugars or artificial ingredients. Instead, we will deliver deliciously stuffed loaves of bread, pizzas, and sweets to our school canteens, workers and visitors. 

The Karama bakery is located inside Deheishe camp, on a short distance from the Karama center, the camp schools, and the main road. We aim to employ women who are in a difficult economic position but who are eager to support themselves. These ladies quickly became skilled workers through their training and high commitment. Their eager hands now made tasty garlic bread, zatar-filled breads, pizzas and much more.

This initiative is not only going to support the Deheishe community, but we soon hope to expand to other refugee camps that are part of the Rooftop Greenhouses project. This is especially crucial with the ongoing UNRWA budget cuts; lots of uncertainty among the women about what will happen to some of the most crucial services. Will medication be available? What will happen to the maintenance of streets, sewage systems, and electricity? Are our children going to receive the attention they need in school or will staff cuts continue? Even though the UNRWA is not a perfect organization they are first and foremost a corner-stone in the recognition of Palestinian refugees, our right of return and our suffering during the 1948-war and after. We all know how crucial recognition is in the face of trauma and injustice - and that this should be the basis of peace, not ignorance! 

Thank you for your support and love. We hope you enjoy this news update and feel free to share with your friends and families.

PS: Did you notice our new project website is online? Check it out here!   (and we would love to hear your feedback - email us back at volunteers@karama.org) 

PS2: Also check our Facebook page for more updates on our youth activities and women's work! 

All participants successfully  completed training!
All participants successfully completed training!
Stuffed bread with zaatar and herbs.
Stuffed bread with zaatar and herbs.
Soon available :)
Soon available :)

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Announcing our summer camps 2018!
Announcing our summer camps 2018!

Hi there! 

Hope the summer is going great for you so far! Karama Organization is having a full program with activities in the rooftop greenhouses project; with new participants just receiving their new little gardens and 60 other ones now enjoying already a THIRD tasteful harvest. Oh and don't forget on-going construction at Karama's center to create more space for all our activities (we can't wait to show you!).  But not only that; Ramadan, the month of fasting, is also mid-way giving lots of opportunities for community iftars and other activities. 

Not in the least, this Ramadan we will take part in another food distribution for the most needed refugee families! In the last days of Ramadan, we will spread packages with basic food supplies (rice, oil, pasta, beans, tuna, sugar and many other items with a long shelf-life). This will happen, like last year, in partnership with Penny Appeal from the UK! Let's stress again how grateful we are to serve our community through this great partnership. 

Next up will be the Eid holidays, expected on Friday the 16th of June. 

After the holiday festivities, we will soon move on to our next highlight; the summer camps! Due to Ramadan falling right at the start of this summer, we will start our first seasonal activities for the children mid-summer - but that won't spoil the fun for anybody I'm sure! We're open for any child from the camp to participate and are now waiting for kids to come and subscribe. 

With the team making the first arrangements for these summer activities - what are your suggestions for a great summer camp? 

Let us know - hit reply - write us on Facebook! 

For the ones observing we hope you experience a blessed last week of Ramadan and enjoy a wonderful Eid with family and friends! 

Sunny wishes from the whole Karama Team

This report was originally published on 12th of June - but comes to you with some delay... 

Beautiful harvest growing in the greenhouses
Beautiful harvest growing in the greenhouses
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Youth on their trip
Youth on their trip

Great you’ve opened our newsletter again! This month we will introduce you to our youth program going on in Karama Organization in Deheishe camp. Every week, 14 years old eighth graders join us for two days at the Karama center. Here we hold a program to educate them and give them the space they so greatly need.

In Deheisha refugee camp in Palestine, there are not many places or activities for teenagers where they can go to spend their time. There is a lack of diversity in the available activities; if you compare a teenager in Europe with a teenager in the Palestinian refugee camps you will find the same high hopes and dreams on both sides but not enough platforms for the Palestinian teenagers to use. 

Here at Karama, we try to make ourselves a place for these teenagers where they can join us and put their energy to good use. This winter, we have developed a program of meetings two days a week with the teenage boys and girls. Our program aims to serve several needs that these youngsters have in their life.

First of all, the program continuously works with them on maintaining good education and study attitude. Them being students at the UNRWA schools, where classes can reach up to 40 students in each room, there is less time to address individual problems as the teachers focus more on work with the whole class. In the program, we provide extra classes, especially when midterm and final exams are in the planning. The students mostly request English and math teachers.

Secondly, one of the problems which a lot of teenagers face when they finish high school is choosing their next education, whether it be university, college or other courses. They have little knowledge of what is available but also about what they really love to do and what their skills and qualities are. Choosing a suitable education is a key in avoiding unemployment later on, which is a real concern with numbers of youth unemployment between 40% and 50% in Palestine. We included in our program workshops and training to help the group explore their university and job options, by help them know more about themselves; their interests, qualities, and skills. In addition, we organize educational field trips to hospitals, the court, and institutions to help them have a visual understanding of the job possibilities.

Recently we organized a trip to Maa'n lilhayat institution that works on economic empowerment of people with mental disabilities through handmade wool products. Both the residents of the institute and Karama’s teenagers introduced themselves and then worked together with the wool. Our teenagers said that it made them happy to join in on working with the wool and that they are happy to have been a part of putting a smile on their faces

This displays one of the last aims of the program. Raising responsible teenagers is one of the essential goals we work on. This means we try to enrich their belonging to Karama and each other, by requesting tasks from the teenagers in order to give them a sense of responsibility. This will help them in these crucial years into adulthood!

Thank you Bisan for making such an engaging program! And a big thanks to our donors we make it possible for Karama to organize such activities. 

Products the youth used during their workshop
Products the youth used during their workshop
"Happy to be part of getting a smile on her face!"
"Happy to be part of getting a smile on her face!"
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Organization Information

Karama Organisation for Women and Children's Development

Location: Bethlehem, West Bank - Palestine
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Yasser Alhaj
Bethlehem, West Bank Palestine
$30,305 raised of $30,000 goal
 
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