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!
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