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

 June Report, 2015

                         The month of June was an exciting one for Karama! Between the 12 day summer camp program filled with trips to exciting places and activities and fun at our own center in Deheishe camp, the children of Karama both had fun and also learned about the past of Palestine.

This year, Karama decided that our summer program would revolve around the theme: "From the old generation to the new". With this theme, Karama organized for older people in the camp, often times grandmothers and grandfathers of Karama children, to come and speak with the kids and tell them stories of the rich lands that they and their families owned before the Ocupation. In addition to stories of the lost villages, the program also took the kids on trips to see the villages with their own eyes - or at least go as far as the occupation would allow them!

During this 12 day program, the children, accompanied by individuals of the older generation, took five trips all over the West Bank to see the lost villages with their own eyes and see firsthand the land that was once theirs. One such trip was to the very southern part of the West Bank, to a small old village called Ar Ramadeen. Here, everyone perched on a hilltop to look out over the breathtaking landscape of fields, gentle hills, and plain stretches as far as the eye could see. It was in this beautiful place that Abu Ibrahim and Saeeda Hajjar, two of the older generation story tellers, shared stories about the area; the names of the villages behind the fence, the owners of the land, how they used to work on the field and collect water. We also met some of the farmers living in the hills of Ramadeen and hear about problems they face in this area enclosed by the Separation Wall. After a stroll through the fields, we took the children to a nearby playground, had a BBQ and enjoyed the afternoon together with games.  This was just one of five wonderful trips that enlightened and emboldened the children in their identity in and knowledge of Palestine.

We at Karama believe that these trips to rarely visited parts of Palestine were of vital importance to building the understanding that the children have of where they come from, who they once were, and who they are today.

In addition to these thrilling expeditions, the children of Karama also enjoyed countless activities and games inside Deheishe camp at the KaramaCenter during the month of June. On one of these Center days, the children created beautiful designs that they would draw on large Styrofoam boards and then decorate with glittering sequins. From Palestinian flags and doves to hills and trees, the boards made for the perfect group activity that utilized the imagination of all of the children. All groups would present their work in front of each other while Karama staff praised the creativity and collaboration of the teams.    

As the month of June and all its fun came to an end, we prepared for the holy month of Ramadan! Karama stayed open during Ramadan to be a consistent source of fun and learning for the children. Then with the end of Ramadan, we as an organization took a brief break from Karama to celebrate the three days of Eid--a fun time for visiting family and breaking the month long fast! Looking forward, Karama will continue to be open during the month of August, which is the last month of their summer break. Summer camps will continue to run, with preparations for Karama's exchange camp with Khirbet Zakaria in full force!

Thank you for all your support! You have been a vital source of assistance for the Karama center, the twelve day summer program, and continued fun and learning for the children of Deheishe Refugee Camp.

Touring the rarely visited parts of Palestine
Touring the rarely visited parts of Palestine

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Thank your for your solidarity!
Thank your for your solidarity!

We did it together! :) On the most recent May Bonus Day we raised more than 3,500 USD with your generous support for Karama's Upcoming Summer Camps. A big big THANK YOU from the whole Karama team for your solidarity and support, for your sharing and donations! We know many people shared it in their network and it is great to see that with your support we can increase our work with our young generation.   

Because with your support Karama is able to set up a great summer program that includes more youth from Deheishe Camp and Khirbet Zakaria. Why is this so necessary you might ask? Because these children are daily suffering from a military occupation that tries to break their spirit and limits their growth. These kids are restricted in their movement, deal with fear for physical and emotional attacks and grow up in a situation with little resources for their education and recreation. The children in the village from Khirbet Zakaria face huge difficulties to even exercise their simple right to education, with the local school being unable to extend while travelling to other schools is too dangerous. This situation of military occupation and colonization of our land requires a lot more attention, but the first thing we can do for our children is to make sure they will grow through this more resilient! 

It will mean a lot to the children from both Deheishe and Khirbet Zakaria to be brought together once again. To make it a safe summer camp, Karama needs to arrange transport between the two places. So your donations will help us to ensure this. We will also use your support to set up creative and active activities that will stimulate leadership and friendship and make the children more emotionally resilient. Above all it should be a time for the kids to be kids and enjoy!

The exchange summer camp will take place after the Islamic month of Ramadan, taking place this year between mid-June and mid-July. During these days most people are fasting from food and negative behavior from sunrise to sunset, but the summer holiday continues afterwards and will prove a better time for more intensive activities. Karama center will be open and active before and during Ramadan however! Did you know that this summer volunteers from all continents will join us? Africa (Egypt), Asia (Singapore), Europe (Poland & UK), South America (Brazil), North America (Canada&USA) are all represented in Karama this summer inshallah!:) If you know somebody around you that could be a great addition to the Karama team, send them the link below with more information! 

Because of your help, we are a lot closer to reaching our goals for this summer! Thank you for helping Karama to keep hope alive in the refugee camp and boost a feeling of dignity among these children. 

If you want to know more about our work, stay in touch or have a specific question about your donation - you are more than welcome to get in touch with us. You can hit reply and we will get back to you! We want you to feel part of our work and we truly hope you will use the tools, email - facebook - our website, for that!:) If you didn’t find us on Facebook yet, please follow the link below.

We can't wait to update you with pictures and stories during the coming months - and think that you've made that happen! 

Thank you again for all you have done to help our cause and we will get in touch next month! 

Warm wishes from Karama!
Warm wishes from Karama!

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Boys during summer camp
Boys during summer camp

You remember this picture from last summer? It received the most likes on our Facebook as a bright expression of happiness & friendship, beating isolation and separation!

These boys live only 10 kilometers apart, but met for the first time last summer overcoming restrictions and fear in an area crippled by Jewish-only settlements.  The young communities of Deheishe (a refugee camp) and Khirbet Zakaria (a village in Area C surrounded by settlements) lack opportunities for the teenagers to develop and recreate. But in Karama’s summer camp they can come together to express themselves creatively and build new friendships.

Let’s do it again this summer!

During the summer of 2015 Karama will bring together teenagers from both Deheishe can Khirbet Zakaria. They will enjoy a program with recreational activities as well as workshops that stimulate learning, friendship, leadership and responsibility towards nature and each other. We will work with local Karama volunteers and social workers, while international volunteer will contribute with their creative skills as well. Such a positive experience can impact any girl's or boy's life for the better!

Why is this Wednesday important? Global Giving will match all your donations from 9AM till midnight EDT (starting 1PM GMT for our friends in Europe). 75,000 USD in matching funds are available and EVERY donation – how small, how big – will receive a bonus! On this day you can make your donation go a lot further! And with every dollar, Karama will deliver a program more packed with resources and creativity.

 

How can you help?

  1. Share this email with friends & family so they are aware of this opportunity for Karama!
  2. Like our Page on facebook to show your support for Karama.
  3. Join our Event Page on FB so you will be updated and can show your support!
  4. Open your email on Wednesday to receive the link where you can donate.

We can’t wait for the holiday to start and work together with these youth! Boys like Bara deserve a space to develop themselves away from stress and violence. Karama wants to equip and empower them; with your help we can do that.

Thank you so much for your continuing support - it is a special feeling to know we in Deheishe can count on the thoughts and solidarity from people around the world! 

Get in touch with us - we love to hear from you - on Facebook or hit reply! 

Joy in Khirbet Zakaria
Joy in Khirbet Zakaria
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Benefit of rooftop gardens reaches young women too
Benefit of rooftop gardens reaches young women too

In the last update we asked you for monthly donations so we would be able to hire a social worker for a sustainable investment in the children attending our center. We are happy that you have responded to our request and we can point out that we are on the way to reaching our goal for the children!
 

So, let us start with thanking you for the support you have given us in the last months!
Please keep giving and share our message!:)


This month, we want to give you a bit more insight in the conditions surrounding our youth in Deheishe and why we want to keep the older children engaged in our activities. At Karama we see the youth as the change- makers for the future. Young new leaders are waiting to stand up to make a difference and inspire their community from within. By giving them responsibilities in our activities they are able to grow into their future roles.

When you talk to the youth in Deheishe Camp, you can feel their energy to make a change. Therefor it’s even harder to see that due to a lack of possibilities, this energy grows less every day. Not being channeled to a good cause they slowly lose their force.

Image when you were younger and had many dreams and plans for your future and how you were able to set this in motion to achieve these dreams. Now imagine those same dreams but no means or possibilities whatsoever... Just having to stand by and see your dreams slowly fade away. Eventually this generation is losing hope and is unable to make a fair living for themselves. The negative circumstances lead them to poverty, depression and so on.

Reports confirm that unemployment and poverty in the Palestinian Territories leads young people to frustration and despair. It harms their dignity and creates social and political problems.The conditions in the Refugee Camps not only affect the mind but it also affects the body. Limited exercise, unhealthy diets (minimum intake of fresh vegetables and maximum intake of sugar), stress; all these factors contribute to health risks. "Obesity, smoking and inactivity are the main health risks for young people," a report says about the Palestinian youth. As stated in an article by Hazem Balousha "A number of studies have shown that 25% of adolescents and 30% of girls are obese or overweight. An UNRWA study said that 70% of females of reproductive age and more than half of women under 30 are overweight."

Let’s meet Ibrahim, he is a 22 year old refugee from the Deheishe Camp. Although he studied at a University, he is not able to find a job that matches his education. Not wanting to give up under the circumstances he now works at a fruit stand at the side of one of the main streets to Bethlehem. Here he earns about 30 Shekels a day for working as much as 8- 10 hours a day…

Please keep in mind that 5 Shekel is about 1 Euro and the taxi drive to his work place already costs him 3 Shekel! Now he is barely able to contribute to his family, not even thinking about saving for his future. You can imagine this can break somebodies spirit. But you will see that the youth here have a strong spirit and are willing to work hard to make a difference for themselves.

Not willing to abandon them to their fates, Karama offers the youth of Deheishe a first step to a better life. And we hope you will do this with us. We believe that together we can make a difference.
 

Benefits of projects focused on youth by Karama.
One of our goals is to empower young people to have the ability and life skills to change their own future. By giving them a safe (learning-) environment where they can put their skill in to use, they can gain work and life experience that will prepare them for a future where they can be self-reliant. By doing so, this will increase their quality of life. That is why, in the next round of rooftop gardens starting this spring we want to engage the young people from Deheishe. The UN Youth Fund has already showed interest in funding gardens for young refugee women in the camp and Karama is eager to engage them in this initiative!

Will you help us to include more participants, so we can also engage young men like Ahmed in this project?With 600 dollars we can start an extra garden. If 12 of our supporters donate 50 dollars we can already help Ahmed to produce on his roof!

Producing food will give the youth in Deheishe Camp both physical independence and psychological freedom from the occupation. They will learn to be able to take care of themselves and maybe even to take care of their families in the future. And pass their skills onto their own children.

Something we see too often over the past few years is the outflow of educated, talented youth from Palestine abroad, unable to find a fair job in their own country. This emigration of intelligent, well-educated individuals to somewhere else for better pay or conditions causes Palestine to lose skilled and ambitious people. Something we are so bad in need for! We will go against this trend and ‘brain drain’ and maybe even inspire those who left the land to come back and use it. To plant and harvest together for a happier and healthier life.
 

Keep us in your thoughts!:) We love to hear from you!

Young local volunteers gaining skills as guides
Young local volunteers gaining skills as guides
Youth harvesting the benefits!
Youth harvesting the benefits!

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The pride of our work and community!
The pride of our work and community!

Winter in Bethlehem's refugee camp (and why we love to hear from you monthly:)) 

Seasons change; in the weather and the garden, however these months also see the oppression growing colder and harsher. People in Palestine are eager for relieve and change, but as there is no sign change will come from the outside, we as Karama need to continue nurture change and hope on the inside. No matter the cold and no matter how little the resources!

Between the small and unsafe streets of the camp, the children find a place to run, play and get together in the little, but well-filled, center. The books, the colors, the laughter, the hug they find in Karama can give them the support, the motivation or inspiration to get a little stronger day by day. Your donations have helped us to buy new materials for activities and cover maintenance on our buildings. Through this act, you have built together with our staff in this project, just like our volunteers are doing daily! Volunteers from the community or from far away have joined us for shorter or longer times to work next to us for the same goal of restoring dignity in our youth and women.

Like Rawan, who has been stimulating the children through time in the library and quizzes on all kinds of topics. Senan constantly engaged the kids and women in the English language during his time with Karama, while Imaan kept them always active inside and outside. With Adrian the real sportsmen have become clear among the kids whereas Ross never gave our youngest a dull moment! Karama is extremely proud and happy with the energy and support of volunteers like these, but this list could have been much longer with more and more missing names. The supporters from abroad who were denied to enter our country by the Occupation, based on their skin color, a previous stamp or their upright intentions, after hours and hours of interrogation and harsh treatment. Or the names of local volunteers, who wish they could join but struggle every day to make a living for their family and are practically unable to contribute voluntary. Missing their presence is a direct result of the occupation that keeps our lives limited in more ways than one can imagine but that will fall in the end. Stimulating this resilient attitude is a core thought in our work in Deheishe and we are glad you are being part of this! 

Maybe you are preparing for Christmas, or you are reflecting on your new aims for 2015. And it could make you wonder what Karama wishes in this month of gifts, celebrations and reflection! We would appreciate it greatly if you could take time to consider supporting us with a reoccurring donation, so we can hire a social worker who needs a monthly salary.

With the current commitment from several donors we would already be able to cover about 1/3 of a salary, but we would need another 300 till 400 dollars each month to give a steady salary to a future staff member. Meaning we need only 10 people who support us with a steady 40 dollars a month! Hiring a social worker would mean a sustainable investment in the children attending our center, who would be able to benefit from regular guidance and workshops that will have more attention for they emotional and behavioral challenges than current volunteers can give.  

           Will you help us build our center and our services to the children of Deheishe?


Reoccurring donations can be chosen when you click the orange “DONATE” button; just change the menu below ‘frequency’ to monthly! With the support from GlobalGiving, new monthly donations will be match making your support even double efficient!!

Thank you for your support through all these seasons. Feel free to share this email with friends or family, or get in contact with us on Facebook or by sending an email to contact@karama.org

                        Warm wishes from the whole Karama Team!

Our women restoring their dignity on their roofs
Our women restoring their dignity on their roofs

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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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