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
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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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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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
$45,352 raised of $50,000 goal
 
815 donations
$4,648 to go
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