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
Children taking refuge in UNRWA school in Gaza
Children taking refuge in UNRWA school in Gaza

To be a child in Palestine became a lot harder in the last few weeks..

This update from Karama Organization is filled with different content than we normally send you. Instead of news about finished high school exams, summer activities, Ramadan meals and holiday trips our current situation is marked by the destruction of our community in the Gaza Strip.

What stands out first, is the huge undeniable damage to our people. Four weeks of bombing from air, sea and land has taken more than 1865 lives. More than 84% of these are confirmed civilians by the UN, not engaged in any military operation. The numbers can go on and on but fabricated argumentation and lies about hypothetical attacks give Israel a free way to roll out its massive destruction of all infrastructure in Gaza. 373 children killed. 2502 marked for life due to injuries. (Acc. To UNICEF 03/08/2014) Half of the 1.8 million inhabitants of this 360km2 strip displaced, half of them young children. All of them marked, again, hardened, also more determent, more stubborn, more patient and even at moments more hopeful. Hopeful that every loss will bring us closer to a recognition of our rights and finally a return to life in dignity.

The war not only impacts the families living in the Gaza Strip. Life in the West Bank is impacted greatly by the rollercoaster of emotions people go through watching and hearing the news coming from the events only a few kilometres away from us. Due to the blockade and occupation, very few people in Deheishe actually visited this small piece of land, but they are all connected. Most of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip came there as refugees after the 1948 destruction, just like we, the people of Deheishe, came here. The children in the camp have been seeing images on the news of death and destruction for the last four weeks. Mothers that look like their mothers, brothers the size of their brothers are all characters in this nightmare that continues. Eid, marking the end of Ramadan last Monday, wasn’t really a feast. This year there were no fruits, candies and juice, only black coffee for the adults who went from house to house to greet their relatives.

Now the children are supposed to enjoy their last weeks of holidays, but they are not taken on trips or outings. “It’s too dangerous” says dad who is still afraid for settlers attacks. And mum warns it’s not the time for festivities, because remember we could be next. Instead, parents, sisters and brothers went out to march on Friday risking their lives by showing their solidarity and anger about the massacre in Gaza. Fathers gave their kids money to buy bottles of water and bring them to a collection point. Mothers also collected bed sheets and now they hope the aid will be allowed to enter Gaza.

Every child in Palestine is somehow impacted again by another wave of violence. Disguised with so-called anti-terrorism arguments, but any kid in the street can explain you all we want is to live in dignity. Without being second-class, without humiliation, without occupation. Unquestionable these kids are now even stronger nurtured in their believes that it is worth to resist, that there is a need to stand up for their rights. As often during hardships, Palestinians feel more united than ever, more proud than ever to be an inhabitant of this land and community by birth.

And in a time when we all would lose hope in humanity, the sparks of honest anger,  engagement and movement from ordinary people all over the world sound extra loud for us. It is not enough to overrule to drones, shelling, airstrikes covering Gaza in war, but for Palestinians it carries the hope that it might be the beginning of a new sound coming from the international community.

We want to thank everybody who showed any sign of support deep from our hearts. Your donations, your participation in a march, your signature to a petition or the conversation you started in your community, they are all signs for us that people care about the lives being lost.

Please continue to impact your community, by starting the conversation about the people of Palestine, by spreading the word and challenging local media, by standing in solidarity in the street. Thank you for remembering our people and projects and we send you our greetings in the hope that Karama’s next update will be able to carry a new message.

Warm wishes from the whole Karama Team!

This time the pictures with this email are not our own, but are shots from the situation in Gaza, credits are on the pictures. 

Destruction and freedom in Gaza
Destruction and freedom in Gaza
Yasser now in the EU, video on our Youtube account
Yasser now in the EU, video on our Youtube account

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Eager to get out of the bus and swim!
Eager to get out of the bus and swim!

This project report updates our donors about the developments in the Karama center in Deheishe and specifically the activities for the children we create here. Karama is very thankful for all the support you give and because of that like to keep you informed about the projects that reach the most disadvantaged children of Palestinian society. 

 

Dear Karama Supporter, 

In April Karama was able to organize its first trip of the season! To offer the children some respite during the 6-day-long school weeks they currently have, Karama organized an excursion to a swimming resort for frequent visitors of our center. As you remember the strike left the children for 2 months without education, so the schools are open extra days to make up for some of this. But no child can learn well if there is no chance for recreation and enjoyment, so it was about time for a little fun! With unfortunately only limited space available, finally 30 kids got in the bus packed with lunch and swimming suits. A full day of swimming, playing and relaxing followed!

This rare opportunity to play in the water was fully enjoyed by all the participants and everybody arrived back in Deheishe tired but satisfied. It is great to offer the children such a moment of enjoyment in one of the very few playgrounds Palestine knows. Not in the least place because of the limited water, swimming pools are a rare commodity in our community. While our neighbours in Nahalin have seen their natural spring taken over by settlers who now use it as a recreational area, Karama needed to travel a resort a few villages into the West Bank to find a swimming opportunity. Israel remains in control of all water related infrastructure and Palestinians are struggling to gather enough water. On average, Palestinians have less than 73 litres per person/day available, which is way under the WHO guideline of 100 l/c/d for a healthy life! In the summer months this average is even lower, while the neighbouring Jewish settlements consume between 270 up to 360 l/c/d.

After this first taste of summer Karama is gearing up for the summer camps to be organized in July and August. Last year was the first time we organized a camp together with the residents of Khirbet Zakaria and the contacts have remained warm ever since. That is why it is our goal to invite again a group of children from both Deheishe and Khirbet Zakaria to meet up, play and learn together. As you maybe remember from a previous newsletter, Khirbet Zakaria is a small village surrounded by Jewish settlements that isolate the village from its agricultural land, educational opportunities and most importantly from the rest of Palestinian society. A summer camp that brings together both groups will offer not only much needed enjoyment for all, but also a rare chance to get to know other Palestinians and connect again.

To enforce our efforts to prepare for the 2014 summer camps, we have created a new micro project! That page will raise funds specifically for the summer camps and you are very welcome to share it in your community. In the meantime Karama will continue to update you on the workshops and activities in our center and we look forward to your feedback!

 Enjoy the pictures of our excursion and we hope you will look forward to our next update! 

Clear blue water on a warm day
Clear blue water on a warm day
Enjoying a rare day out!
Enjoying a rare day out!
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Our international volunteer helps out with classes
Our international volunteer helps out with classes

From Karama Organization we send you our warm greetings and a big thank you note for helping us being an open and positive place in Deheishe Refugee Camp. With your help we have given emergency educational support and additional workshops for the children of the camp in the last month and we are happy to send you this update.

Life in the camp continues to be characterized by the strike of the UNRWA employees. Many basic services are now stopped due to a long-standing dispute over UNRWA’s general (employment) policy. Dissatisfaction among the refugees is great because of the reactions from both UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority (PNA). The slow response of the government structures and the disinterest of the UNRWA to seriously consider the staffs demands are taken heavy by the refugees. Many refugees already feel distant from the PNA structures and the disregard for their current situation adds to their feeling both the government and the UNRWA are not considering their rights. Our children’s right to education should not be comprised however in this situation and Karama continues to find ways to fulfil this right! Your donations have been used for this aim and organized classes in Arabic and mathematics in the mornings.

After the emergency classes our volunteers continue with activities for the children of all ages. Both inside in the library as well as outside the children are stimulated to learn and work together. Through encouraging the children to take up a book in our library, we hope to improve their language skills. Without the kids attending school during the day, it is striking how quick their level is deteriorating. During one of our reading groups, several 5th graders where taking turns in reading a short story in English. Bayaan, 10 years old, was also pretending to read a bit. But when it was her turn to read out loud she shied away. “I’m sorry Miss” was her reply, “I forgot the English letters. Nobody studies English with me at home”. With your help we can continue to give her a place where she feel comfortable to learn and grow!

Besides the classes we will soon start to work on our outside play area! We look forward to use it again as soon as the weather permits it. A new football goal and volleyball net will hopefully be part of these efforts so more active team sports can be played together.

We continue to be open for volunteers to help us with the educational activities for the children or the advancement of our outside playgrounds. Currently one of our international volunteers for example, is giving the music lessons and helps with English reading. If you or anybody among your friends or family would be interested you can read more information on our website or send an email to volunteers@karama.org

Do you know you can connect with us on Facebook too for updates? Find the link below and stay in touch!

Thank you for being part of this project! 

Our emergency classes continue every morning!
Our emergency classes continue every morning!
Children are encouraged to learn in the library
Children are encouraged to learn in the library
Proud of her library card!
Proud of her library card!

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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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