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
One of the supported woman explaining her business
One of the supported woman explaining her business

Dear Loyal Readers!


Hope you are all doing amazing and staying safe and healthy during (what are here in Palestine) the hot July and August months! We have heard that several of our friends are experiencing difficulties in various parts of the world with extreme weather conditions, know that we pray for your safety and more wisdom and commitment from us all to better care for our planet.


Time to put the spotlight on another activity recently implemented by Karama Organization. Proudly we like to focus on a few women we would love for you to meet and get to know. Karama's team had the honor to meet some amazing, entrepreneurial ladies in the past years and in the last half year we finally came around making some supportive activities for these business women.


Karama strongly believes our women are capable of anything they put their minds and hearts to and we have seen many amazing stories of evidence from this. Such as Ra'eda and Intisar's who joined our rooftop greenhouses project last year and found new motivation through their little green garden. Now they are the engineers of their greenhouse, the leaders of their planting season and the providers of delicious organic produce to their families. If you are not eating organic, well… start today because it is worth the change! And there is the lovely Aireen, who is a young agricultural engineering student at Al- Arroub Agricultural College who has showed very good commitment and care in her greenhouse. So much that Karama now employed her to assist in the development of a seedling nursery. You know, those places where seeds can safely and effectively grow in small plants ready to be planted in the outside world…


But its not just flowers and tomatoes that are happening in Karama these days. What do you think about soap and beauty products? We got you covered! What about some lovely crochet bags and unique accessories following the latest fashion? We got that too! All because Karama connected with some amazing handicraft artists, who are willing and motivated to take their home-business to the next level.

One of the business women shared; "For almost 2 years now I have been working from home making different kinds of soaps and beauty products. I started because I love it and I am interested in this area, but also because I want to do something useful by myself that helps my family and can support my children in their education and medical needs". Karama engaged her in different business sessions and provided her with new supplies, branding and packaging. She continues; "I really felt seen by Karama team. Together we brainstorm ideas and now I am not alone but feel a team of people support my growing my little start-up".


Karama follows a holistic approach when it comes to entrepreneurial activities: we see the business of a women with their place in the market and their value chain to understand which areas of her business can use support. Together we brainstormed about consumers’ wishes, packaging standards, recognizable logos and branding and high-quality inputs. Of course, the project staff looked at marketing channels and ways to promote these items more in Palestine and hopefully abroad.

We plan to continue with our existing business women for at least another six months and there are a few priorities we hope to support these women in. For some it is more professional packaging, others better visibility and e-marketing for her products. We are so glad your support can contribute to these goals!

The women are tirelessly building a better future for their families day by day, and it means to world to them to feel supported! 

Wanna know where these businesses will be going? Keep an eye on our social media for more updates! 

Warm wishes from Palestine. 

Some of the lovely products made by the supported
Some of the lovely products made by the supported
Lovely soaps made by the talented Maha.
Lovely soaps made by the talented Maha.
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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.

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Whole neighborhoods have been cleaned and painted!
Whole neighborhoods have been cleaned and painted!

Hi there! 

Time for a news flash from Palestine. 

During the COVID19 crisis, Karama has been focusing on emergency and resilience activities for the most vulnerable households in the refugee camps of the southern west bank. It is very difficult or impossible to still have gatherings or group activities, so we are unable to serve our children much. But they have been included in several activities (such as the distribution of clothes, school supplies, and toys). 

Initially, Karama did work together with many local actors to organize distributions of food, non-food items, and cash to the most vulnerable families in the Bethlehem and Hebron regions. Over 3000 households have been supported by Karama and more through our networks. The team has looked for ways, however, to support our communities more sustainable and in a more dignified manner. That is how the Cash-for-Work program came to life. Men and women who are the main breadwinner of their household, but who lost their income during the corona crisis can apply to participate in the program. They will participate in activities that improve the public spaces of the camp; such as cleaning, painting, restoration work, planting trees and greenery and so. 

This has been a great success so far with amazing feedback from the community! 

So far, we have employed over 70 workers during different times, and we are still going strong with more joining inshallah!! The activities in the camp give workers a fair temporary salary while improving public spaces at the same time. We only employ women and men who are the income-providers for their household but lost their income due to the COVID19 crisis.

The economy is still suffering greatly from the restrictions and lockdown, so many families in the camp are struggling to come by each week! With your support, we can employ more. 

Our most recent activities also contribute to a healthy, clean environment in our beautiful camp. After painting the walls and planting trees, this month our workers distributed wheeled trash bins in Deheisha. The team prepared each bin with extra supplies to make it easier for the UNRWA sanitation workers to empty it. Families in the camp are very happy about this idea, and many have requested adding a bin next to their house. Great job all!

Have a look at the pictures of the hard work and let us know what you think! 

If you would like to support a household during this difficult time, GlobalGiving is the perfect place for a one-time or monthly donation. 

Have an amazing week and don't hesitate to connect with us here or on Facebook. 

Unemployed get a fair salary and improve the camp
Unemployed get a fair salary and improve the camp
And at many places beautiful paintings were added
And at many places beautiful paintings were added

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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

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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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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
$37,922 raised of $40,000 goal
 
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