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
Karama's Fall News
Karama's Fall News

Welcome to our October Update!

In Palestine schools are in full swing now and so are Karama's after school activities. Most schools have completed their first exam period and results are being distributed and discussed with parents.

Not only the children fill Karama's center but also several UNRWA volunteers join us daily. These volunteers (currently all women) are participating in the UNRWA's employment program and receive a small fee in return of their volunteer services with local organizations. One of these ladies is Ghada (32) who gives her attentive eyes and supportive hands to the after school activities. Her husband has a very instable income and Ghada never got the chance to complete the social work course that she hoped to do after her final high school exams. Besides taking care of her family she subscribed into the UNRWA program to stay active in the community and help her husband in financially hard times. She takes the children to play outside now the weather is still nice and up to the computer room to teach the kids computer skills. But she enjoys it mostly when she opens the library, she adds. “Getting a group of kids completely engaged in a story feels always like a great achievement”.  Ghada will keep volunteering in Karama for another two months, after which she will hear if she is able to participate again in the UNRWA program.

We also had the pleasure to tour with another great group of Belgium guests last month. They joined us for 12 days full of visits, meals, discussions and dessert nights.. Looking back we can be thankful for a wonderful group of people who were open and interested and had great interaction together and with their tour guides. We always keep open for international guests who would like to see and experience life on the West Bank, Palestine.

 

Looking forward to: 

- International volunteers joining us during the upcoming holiday season and beyond! 

- Exciting developments with Karama and the EU delegation (we'll keep you posted)

- Continuing the after school programs with new ideas and initiatives. 

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SMILES on the group picture of Karamas recent trip
SMILES on the group picture of Karamas recent trip

Hey Karama Donors!

Do you feel the heat too? Here in Palestine we are at the peak of a nice hot summer, with temperatures easily reaching 35 degrees Celsius in July. This resulted in a lot of refreshments for the children during activities and some flexibility in the summer program to make sure the kids were well protected during the trips. But heat or no heat, Karama’s programs have been running smoothly with the help of our supportive team and the very committed participation of the children from Deheishe Camp.

This newsflash we are eager to show you some pictures from the activities that were organized in Karama in the past weeks. Before, during and after Ramadan, several summer camps have been organized that took sometimes 50 children, sometimes even up to 80 children several days of fun and engagement on trips and activities in the Karama center. Healthy meals were served every day to keep the hungry children healthy and active. All camps created teams, in which the children were stimulated to practice team play, care for team mates and leadership. A Karama Summer Camp cannot continue without the needed attention for development of skills and values; every year the kids are challenged and encouraged to show compassion and cooperation and in every camp group discussion are a part of every day.

Solidarity and care for the community has also been shown by the Karama Team in many ways in the past summer. When water shortages became a real threat for several families, Karama made the well available for families to collect water from. The well was built with the help of international donors when Karama did upgrade the back playground; an investment bringing already great returns for the whole community! And while university and college students are preparing for the start of the new semester, Karama is always trying to connect promising students in need with willing supporters from the community or from abroad. There are still very skilled students waiting for support in order to be able to subscribe into the new semester, so if one of our readers is interested in this please contact us for more information.

Karama hopes to continue the summer activities for the full month of August, with some schools starting end of August again, others beginning of September. Can we count on your support in this endeavor? We are happy to receive your solidarity and support!

The pictures will show you some of the trips and play time in the past month.

See you in the next newsletter!

 

PS: don't forget to hit reply if you want to know more about supporting students from the camp.. When there is a lot of interest we consider opening a seperate Global Giving page so we can get you in touch with those promising youth. Let us know if you are interested! 

Youth gets moving during our team games.
Youth gets moving during our team games.
Going for another trip; all organized and ready.
Going for another trip; all organized and ready.
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Sight in Deheishe Camp (by Silvia Boarini)
Sight in Deheishe Camp (by Silvia Boarini)

Dear readers, 

Welcome to our April Update and thanks a lot for keeping track of our work! We will leave you with a quick update this month about what is going on in- and outside Karama.

As you all know, Karama's motto is all about being a safe place for the women and children of the camp. With the arrival of spring, the children use this safe place for being active outdoors and exploring new outside games like chalk drawing. Also new women activities have taken off recently, where women share new skills among each other. Successful cooking classes, handcraft workshops and a trip have already taken place - with great pleasure of the women! They enjoy their mornings together which are often useful, entertaining and great bonding moments in the community.

But why would Deheishe actually need a safe place one might ask? The last months have shown again how much life in the camp is under threat. The frequency of night raids by the occupation army are on an all-time high, with as often as to 3 times per week the soldiers coming inside the camp to spread fear and destruction. The attacks on women and children take shocking forms. Earlier this spring, a mother was kidnapped and after one month of separation from her children in jail, she was placed under house arrest. This has put her 3 children through a nightmare, while her 12-year old son has also been summoned for questioning; treated harshly under the military system. A military system that does not acknowledge his status of a minor and where 6 out of 10 children will be subject to coercive interrogation (10 out of 10 are questioned without presence of an adult) and more than 4 out of 10 will be forced to sign papers in Hebrew; a language they don’t speak! He is no exception with his young age to come in contact with the military system. Another 12 year old boy of the camp has received an arrest warrant and refuses to sleep at home ever since. A well understood move, as violence is commonly used during arrest raids and what happens afterwards unknown. His family home has already been raided during the night several times in the last week with his older brothers arrested and beaten. While even homes are no guaranteed safe place in the camp, we will try our best to keep Karama!

Under these circumstances, the local team is doing a great job with keeping new activities going and we are excited to welcome new international volunteers soon (if the occupation let’s them through). If you know somebody who has experience in working with children or teaching and who would love to join our team in Palestine, they are always welcome to send us an email or fill in the application form directly on our website!

Our best wishes from the whole team!    

Young boys in Karama
Young boys in Karama
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Working hard together on a great display of hope!
Working hard together on a great display of hope!

We want to start off by thanking everyone who participated in our End of the Year fundraising! In the last month of 2015 more than 40 new donors joined the Karama project and supported us with donations. It means a lot to us that you believe in our projects. In the same spirit we wish you all a happy new year and hope we will hear from you in 2016.

In the last day of December the kids from the camp and all over Palestine studied hard to succeed their ‘end of the year’ exams but before that a bit of distraction was welcomed. Thanks to our volunteer Hanneke, the children learned how to paint.  Displaying next to the entrance, she painted a scene of resistance and hope. While keeping the spirit of our martyr Moutaz alive, it shows our hope and belief that one day we will break through the walls of oppression. In addition she helped to create a warm and cheerful environment with playful drawings full of colours and animals. This was and is very important especially lately knowing kids had to experience the death of two other young boys from the camp. In the last months tensions in the camps were more present, having to face an invasion of the soldiers at least once a week and sometimes more. Waking up with tear gas and faced with the Israeli army on their way to school, once again the occupation impacts everyone life’s in Palestine; even more the innocent and youngest human beings.

On a more positive note, Karama has a lot of plans in these coming months. Especially there are plans to extend our work with the UNRWA. There are a few initiatives to collaborate more effectively with the aim of improving women’s activities so they can put their skills to use and develop income generating activities. Furthermore, the UN-Habitat project with the youth should kick off in the coming few months while new international volunteers will arrive to provide additional activities for the children.

Lets stay in touch in the coming months and we would love to hear from you too!

Hit reply or join us on our Facebook page [www.fb.com/karama48]

The whole Karama Team sends you the best wishes for the New Year! 

Colorful entrance to Karama
Colorful entrance to Karama

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Fun during Karama's summer camps
Fun during Karama's summer camps

Karama wraps up the summer activities in this email and brings a special video first to our Global Giving Donors!

Against all odds we will continue to smile, cultivate joy and friendship in our community. During the long break from school, Karama Organization held three summer camps with trips and games to overcome the memory of violence and humiliation. With many challenges still ahead, the children returned to the class rooms as the UNRWA schools did open its doors again in the West Bank last month. 

This newsletter is a collection of faces and stories from these last months; to remember the power of a smile and thank everybody who joined Karama and laughed with us.

 Seif (14 - Deheishe) shares "It was a great camp and I never joined anything like this before. I learned a lot of new things and especially I got to know many nice people".

 Shannon (23 - Canada) shares about the summer; "The summer camps were incredibly fun. I loved going through various games and activities with the kids, but most of all I loved their attitude and optimism towards whatever we did with them. Like when we took them to Hebron and the soldiers wouldn’t let us go to the Ibrahim Mosque. We tried two entrances and were turned away from the entire old city in Hebron, but the kids still made the most of the day, playing in the park and touring the glass factory and even just enjoying the bus ride there and back seeing the landscape around them. Despite the heat, the language barrier, and how exhausting it could be, I loved going into Karama everyday to see and play with the kids.”

Adam (8 - Deheishe) "The camp was a lot of fun and I learned many new things. I learned how the volcano works and I liked all the activities."

Ghassan (24 - Deheishe) "We had a great time during the whole summer. Every camp we made it different than before and I don't believe any child had ever joined a program like ours. We did every time many different activities; both to learn and for fun. I worked together with great volunteers from abroad and the kids have benefited a lot; I've seen these camps open their minds."

These children deserve a place to play and learn in their childhood, surrounded by respect and support from our volunteers and staff.

A warm thank you to all the people who supported us in Palestine and abroad during this time and you truly have put a smile on the children's faces.

 

During the summer months, Karama developed together with our Swiss volunteer Christina a short documentary featuring Luay. It is an open invitation to come visit us in Palestine but also a statement of persistence and hope for the whole world to see.

Check out the video on our Youtube channel and share with your friends! 

You are always welcome to contact us at volunteers@karama.org 

Luay in Hebron - Karama documentary
Luay in Hebron - Karama documentary
Shannon in Karama
Shannon in Karama

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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
 
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