Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine

by Rebuilding Alliance
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Gardens, Goats, and More: Climate Action Palestine
Ahmed with his new goat!
Ahmed with his new goat!

Dear Friend,

Your support has made it possible to cultivate a remarkable group of beneficiaries! I am very excited to share some updates. As you know, this program was created to help Palestinian families meet some of their own basic food needs with tools and resources provided by RA and our partners. 

Ahmed and his family of five live in Rafah, Gaza.

  • He works diligently to grow herbs, mainly parsley and mint, which he sells to support his family

  • Back in early February, Ahmed had a pregnant goat who gave birth to a healthy kid. Ahmed has a lot of experience raising animals and was super excited to tend to this little guy. Unfortunately, the mother goat passed away shortly after giving birth

  • The good news is that the kid surviced and through this project, we were able to provide Ahmed with a new adult female or “nanny” goat! 

Our team spoke to Ahmed when they delivered his new goat. "I was so sad when my first goat died. I felt so bad about this, but I was extremely happy when I saw you coming to my house with the new goat; now I have a goat, a kid, and two sheep. Thank you so much!"

This past March, some of the families requested more fodder (dried hay) to help feed their animals. Fodder prices increased significantly since the invasion of Ukraine  in February creating a very real crisis in Gaza. Fortunately we were able to supply three months' worth of fodder for our beneficiaries!

It is challenging to obtain any consistent work in Gaza, so this practice of growing and selling herbs, vegetables, milk, eggs, cheese and meat creates income to help support these families. Being able to provide for the animals is a massive part of the success of this program that will generate more revenue and secure a sustainable future for these families.

Here is an update on Shireen, a mother whose story we've shared in the past. She was raising rabbits to help support her family but sadly needed to sell all of them. She was devastated, and we were able to step in back in December to get her new rabbits. Now more fodder helps feed her animals so that she could continue her small business. Thankfully, Shireen has been very successful with raising her rabbits! She breeds them on schedule and then sells them. When we asked Shireen about her experience with this project, she said, "I'm living my dream now. Raising rabbits and goats is one of my favorite things to do. I have excellent experience raising rabbits, and I like watching the babies grow up every day. I feel so lucky to be one of the beneficiaries."

Thanks to your generous donations, all four of our Palestinian NGO project partners have been able to provide food and livestock for at total of 32 families!  

We want to double our number of beneficiaries in Gaza in the year ahead and continue to provide critical inputs like fodder or barn improvements, so please spread the word so this important project can grow.  We appreciate your continued support!

Shireen's rabbits.
Shireen's rabbits.
A beneficiary's sheep.
A beneficiary's sheep.
Shireen and her sheep.
Shireen and her sheep.
More of Shireen's Rabbits for breeding.
More of Shireen's Rabbits for breeding.
WomenProgCtr-R delivered fodder to beneficiaries!
WomenProgCtr-R delivered fodder to beneficiaries!

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Newborn rabbits
Newborn rabbits

“Give a man a fish and you feed him one meal. Teach him to fish and he can feed himself for many meals.” With this philosophy, families provided with animals, plants, and agricultural equipment are growing their own food and raising animals to help feed themselves during this cold winter in Gaza. They sell the extras to generate a source of income, which is so helpful during this time when everyday goods are getting more expensive. 

Shireen, a mother, feels grateful to be part of this project because of the rabbits she was given, which produced eleven new babies. She was the only one to be given rabbits instead of chickens because of her previous experience. She had to sell the rabbits she used to have because she needed money, and she hopes raising the new rabbits provided by this project will be a stable, ongoing business to provide for her family.

Unfortunately, the cold also meant that Shireen lost three newborn goats. Shireen had no idea that the mother goat gave birth during the night, and when she woke up and saw that the three kids had died, she was in shock. However, she still feels grateful to be part of the project and can recover quickly from the loss because of the milk and cheese she can get from the goat plus the earning potential of her rabbits and her garden. 

Meanwhile, two other goats have given birth successfully, and the other pregnant goats are still waiting. Our photographer, Muhammad, is eager to make a short film about the births and told the families to call him "even at dawn" if a goat starts giving birth. 

Five of the benefited families in this phase have at least one child with a disability, and the guardian of one family is fully deaf. Not only were these families provided with a pregnant goat and 10 chickens, they were also given 6 productive fruit trees, seedlings, and a water tank with a water hose to help care for their gardens. One of the fathers in the project, Ashraf, expressed his "great happiness" in the project. Another beneficiary, Enas, said, "This is a wonderful project! My husband had cardiac surgery, and now I'm the one who's been buying groceries. Thank you for your support. God bless." 

Your continued support makes a real difference in Gaza families’ lives. Thank you so much for caring about Gaza families and empowering them to provide for their families.


 

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Amira in Rafah at her farm
Amira in Rafah at her farm

I am proud to report that Gardens, Goats, and More completed a thoughtful proposal process with our four Community Based Org partners and Rebuilding Alliance distributed grants to all four in late July.  Here are the results for two of the partners, and I look forward to sharing more about the others soon.

Al Basma Club for the Disabled (ABCD) in north Gaza, introduced six more families to the program. In keeping with ABCD's mission, they prioritized the poorest families who have members with disabilities. 

Executive Director, Mr. Eid Shaqura, met with all six and asked them about their living situations. This thoughtful process fleshed out not just their needs but their individual stories in a way that gave them dignity and respect. 

  • Father of two, Muhammad, is deaf and married to a deaf woman. Herb and vegetable plants combined with his gardening experience help him feed his family. 
  • Amputee, Mahmud, lives in Jabalya Refugee Camp. Instead of receiving chickens as originally planned, he purchased rabbits because rabbit meat brings a higher price in the market, and he can double production every two months.
  • Wissam, an experienced fisherman with five children, was made disabled by polio. The fishing nets and ropes he received allow him to continue making a living.
  • Ra'id was already making some income from a small cart selling coffee and tea. He expanded his offerings with locally-produced fresh fruit and vegetables and with his new juice machine, he is also selling fresh-squeezed juice. Additionally, his new tent, plastic chairs, cups, and a stovetop makes him the go-to vendor in the neighborhood.
  • Osama is a married father of two children with experience in taking care of animals. He is a double-leg amputee who uses a wheelchair. He and his wife received a 4-month-old cow so they can eventually have a business selling milk and butter.
  • A'thar lives with her brother (who has a hearing disability), her brother's child, and two sisters. She received a goat and the supplies to care for it. She has experience taking care of goats because her father also raised them.

Meanwhile, the Women Programs Center Rafah (WPCR), in south Gaza, moved forward with another six families as well. The four families in their pilot first phase are doing well and are recovering from some damage incurred to their animals and garden during the bombings in May. One beneficiary, Aqela, lost two chickens and some plants because of toxic gas from bombings nearby. Another woman, Amira, lost a baby goat and part of her garden as well. However, Executive Director of WPC-R, Najah Ayash, assured that these damages are nothing they can't come back from. 

In fact, Mrs. Ayash says Amira is doing an excellent job.  Amira, pictured above, is making good profit from her chickens and eggs. Amira attended an agricultural conference in Cairo so she can apply what she learned to her garden. She is growing watermelon, eggplant, corn, parsley, tomatoes and more in her garden and her goat gave birth to two kids.

During the bombings, these gardens became an invaluable resource to families sheltering at home. Rafah Coordinator, Kareem, said: "During the war on Gaza, many people were not able to get outside their homes because of the bombing, and they were facing hard times finding a way to buy food. Luckily, their home gardens were able to provide them with some vegetables to use in cooking, like okra, pepper, tomatoes and potatoes, which were enough to make a meal during these hard circumstances."

Thank you so much for your continued support. Because of you, families can access a sustainable, healthy source of food and even develop a small business to provide for their children.

Amira's garden is in the Oriba neighborhood, Rafah
Amira's garden is in the Oriba neighborhood, Rafah
Planting an olive tree
Planting an olive tree
A new sheep!
A new sheep!
Delivering sheep, lemon trees, and a fig tree too!
Delivering sheep, lemon trees, and a fig tree too!
Wissam setting up his new fishing nets
Wissam setting up his new fishing nets
A'thar and her new goats
A'thar and her new goats
Mahmud & his rabbit barn in Jabalya Refugee Camp
Mahmud & his rabbit barn in Jabalya Refugee Camp

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In our last report, I told you that this project would be providing sheep instead of goats, but it turns out there was a minor translation issue. A week after that report was submitted, Rebuilding Alliance received pictures of when our NGO partners provided the animals and plants, and there was no mistaking that those animals were definitely goats! I apologize for that error. The goats provide milk and cheese for the families to eat and also sell in the local market.

We worked with two of our NGO partners for this pilot project, Women Programs Center Rafah (WPCR) and Youth Vision Society (YVS). Each chose 4 families that could accomodate animals and a small garden. 

Women Programs Center Rafah:

Last Friday, March 12, two baby goats were born from a goat we gave to a WPCR beneficiary, Rania. Besides the goat, she has 10 chickens which produces enough eggs so that her family can eat some, and the rest can be sold to the market. In her garden, there's parsley, dill, potatoes, lettuce, and arugula. Like the eggs, she sells some in the market, and it earns her enough to buy milk and diapers for her youngest son.  

Another WPCR beneficiary, Amira, expects that her goat will give birth soon as well. She promised our photographer in Gaza, Mohammed, that she would call him as soon as the goat gave birth. Mohammed took the pictures you see in this report, and he's excited to make a film for you about the goats. Mohammed told Amira to call him day or night, and he will take a taxi to film the birth. Amira's garden has parsley, onion, potato, beans, garlic, olive and guava trees, cabbage, and peas.

Ejmeea, the matriarch of the third family under WPCR, also received a goat and 10 chickens. Unfortunately, the chickens died from the cold weather, and she fed the chickens to her family instead of letting food go to waste. On the bright side, her garden is doing well. She planted cabbage, cauliflower, parsley, potatoes, beans, and peas. She sells some of these to the market and cooks the rest. 

The fourth beneficiary is Aqela, who is 70 years old. She received a goat and planted cabbages, cauliflower, potatoes, parsley, beans, peas and olive trees in her garden. Her garden helps her take care of her month-old grandchild who has a calcium deficiency. 

The Youth Vision Society gave each of their families 10 chickens and 1 goat. They made sure to include fodder in their distribution so the families didn't have to worry about needing to buy fodder for their new goats. YVS reported that it was hard to find pregnant goats because the goat sellers wanted to keep these goats to themselves. However, they reached out to their network and managed to find people willing to sell them.

YVS has many more families who would like to participate in this program, and they hope they will be able to include them in the future. One beneficiary, Ahmed expressed his gratitude, and said "I expect that this project will have huge impact on my life as I believe it will help me meet my daily needs. Most recently, I couldn't afford my household daily expenses, so I believe this will help me a lot. Thanks, Rebuilding Alliance."

Thank you so much for helping Palestinian families get back on their feet. Look how much positive change your donations have made in their lives. We look forward to giving you more updates on these families in the next report, and we hope to extend the program as soon as possible.

 

P.S. Stay tuned for Climate Action Week on April 19-23 when donations will be matched 100% (up to $2000 cap for each organization).

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Mrs. Najah at the gardening shop
Mrs. Najah at the gardening shop

I'm so happy to be writing another report for you about Gardens. Goats, and More. I joined Rebuilding Alliance in March, and this is the first project I helped build from the ground up. This upcoming December 1st is also my first time participating in Giving Tuesday! I'm so excited, and I hope you'll join us. More information on that below.

Since we have yet to meet our project's fundraising goal, Rebuilding Alliance started with a pilot project with one of our local NGO partners, Women Programs Center Rafah (WPC-R). They selected 4 families as beneficiaries. According to executive director, Mrs. Najah Ayash, "Families who were already clients of the Center were contacted by phone to fill out an application. Their qualification for the program depended on their poverty level, availability of space for cultivation and raising sheep, and practical experience."

Because WPC-R has done similar projects in the past, families will receive expert guidance to make sure their crops and animals can flourish for a long time. Per our last report, our field visit with the Agricultural Development Association in Palestine (PARC) emphasized that expert support is essential to the success of small-scale agricultural projects. 

A few weeks ago, Mrs. Najah personally visited all the families to check on their well-being and see the space where they will cultivate their crops and livestock. She determined that some families have enough space for sheep. Because of price and maintenance, sheep will be much more practical than goats. Mrs. Najah then shopped for gardening supplies with two of the beneficiaries. One of the beneficiaries pictured here, Rania, also works at WPC-R to help support her family as the only breadwinner.  We're hoping this training will lead her to become the project manager as the Garden and Goats program expands.

Add Giving Tuesday to Your Calendar

Please keep these families in your thoughts as Giving Tuesday launches on December 1st. GlobalGiving is distributing $1,000,000 across all participating projects. Funds will be distributed proportionally based on final fundraising totals. In other words, projects with more supporters will earn a bigger slice of the pie. We invite you to join us for this wonderful opportunity. All recurring donations will be matched 100%! 

Thank you for your support,

Sofia

Mrs.  Najah & Rania
Mrs. Najah & Rania
Mrs. Najah and a beneficiary from another family
Mrs. Najah and a beneficiary from another family
This family's yard has plenty of space for sheep
This family's yard has plenty of space for sheep
Another family's yard with lots of usable space
Another family's yard with lots of usable space
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Organization Information

Rebuilding Alliance

Location: Redwood City, CA - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @RebuildAll
Project Leader:
Donna Baranski-walker
Executive Director
Burlingame, CA United States
$47,923 raised of $55,000 goal
 
577 donations
$7,077 to go
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