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Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe

by Karama Organisation for Women and Children's Development
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Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
Rooftop Micro Farms for Refugee Women in Deheishe
We welcome you to our news update
We welcome you to our news update

Dear global supporters and friends,

What an incredible time we find ourselves in these days. All people, all communities around the world are affected by a virus, an illness that knows no borders and makes no distinction between race, wealth or status. No country will be able to pass through this time without placing major restrictions on its society and economy. Not everybody will be impacted equal, not every society will carry the same costs – and long-term implications are merely guesses at the moment.  

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 with 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 to 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 is delayed. Karama is focusing some of its attention now on emergency support to the most vulnerable households, to support them with basic food items; rice, oil, beans, chicken as well as cleaning products, soap and disinfectants. Our major donor the European Union is so flexible to support some of this assistance, but any support is welcome and will enable us to reach more. All our emergency efforts are undertaken in connection with the local health authorities (and will also follow all of their guidelines to protect the safety of our staff and participants).  

During these difficult days, what better than to reflect on the amazing results we have reached as a community in the last three project years?! With that aim, we are sharing with you our newly released video, showing one of our participants from Al-Arroub refugee camp (close to Hebron city). She talks passionately about the impact the greenhouse has made on her life in the last three years (with English subtitles!). Thanks to Ne'ma and the very dedicated project staff for your hard work and commitment and to our donor the European Union for standing with us! 

The video is also 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! 

All kinds of vegetables growing in the gardens
All kinds of vegetables growing in the gardens
Watch and share our new project video!
Watch and share our new project video!

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A first! Amina interacts with lots of journalists!
A first! Amina interacts with lots of journalists!

Dear Karama Friends,

So glad you are joining us for another update on the Rooftop Greenhouses project that is spreading among Palestinian refugees in the southern West Bank. With your help, we have trained almost 160 women and provided them with a fully equipped rooftop greenhouse that is a green space in their mostly grey lives. Now after joining our project, so many doors are opening for the women and we want to highlight a few activities that took place.

Nobody from the women ever thought that they will be talking to journalists and presenting themselves in front of an audience. But through this project, exactly this is happening. This month Karama hosted 18 different media networks, that visited different rooftop greenhouses and interviewed several women. A short report:

When visiting Ms.Amina's rooftop garden, she accompanied the journalists on a tour in her greenhouse that is planted with tomatoes, which is her third planting season. Ms.Amina talked about her love for agriculture and her eagerness for the success of each planting season.
The group then returned to Karama Center, the journalists filmed press interviews with the team and some beneficiaries, where Ms. Fayza, a greenhouse owner since 2017, talked about the social and economic impact of the project, she said that her seasonal production is usually around 120 kilograms. Ms. Hasna who has a greenhouse planted with Thyme talked about how now she dries the Thyme and sells it to Karama.

Finally, project manager Luay talked about the significance of empowerment projects like this in the camps to create an opportunity for women to have their own source of income and help her family. He shared why this project is necessary in terms of creating a green environment in the camp and maintaining the connection between Palestinian refugees and their land.

 

Offering a new opportunity, Karama is organizing simple business training for a group of most interested women who are having the potential to become entrepreneurs of their own business. We are excited to see this group of women grow in skills, vision, and ideas and soon they will be able to start their own economic activities (either directly related to their greenhouse or something slightly else – depending on the ideas of the women herself and the feasibility assessment). With a strong basis of simple bookkeeping skills, communications training, and a business plan these new entrepreneurs will be a force of change in their communities and Palestinian society.

Karama Organization is also preparing for a national event where many stakeholders from Palestine will be invited to celebrate the success of the project so far and spread the message of the potential of rooftop greenhouses.

All in all, still lots of activities ongoing now that we enter winter! Hope you are having a fabulous autumn season and we hope we can continue to count on your support.

Many warm wishes from the whole Karama team.

Khalit Hasna and Luay invited to Wattan Radio
Khalit Hasna and Luay invited to Wattan Radio

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Ramadan wishes from the Karama team
Ramadan wishes from the Karama team

Ramadan Mubarak to all those celebrating and we wish you all over the world a month of meaningful reflection and exchange of peace and kindness in your communities. Some of us may be fasting very long hours, others shorter, but we hope all of us will experience the beauty of this act of workshop and solidarity.

Karama, of course, organized community activities during this month of Ramadan, to share in the spirit of this month. Among them were several food-making workshops for the women and a group iftar for all participants of the Rooftop Greenhouses project. Later this months inshallah, another food distribution will take place to provide assistance to the most needy families in Deheishe camp.

All of the 110 greenhouses are planted again in the last few months and the women are growing a variety of herbs and vegetables this time. We are also looking forward to start construction soon, with the training started for another 30 women in three refugee camps! Slowly we will be reaching the whole Palestinian refugee community – with your help!

Know that Karama Organization cannot continue this work without your support. The funding from the EU that has enabled this large expansion of our work will only cover 89% of all costs! We, therefore, need to continue to increase other donations to be allowed to continue with this important project in the community!

During the group iftar Karama Organization honored some of the most active and productive women in the Rooftop Greenhouses project. Have a look at this video that we made about them! https://youtu.be/0Wi0edgH8Lk

Group Iftar with the women owning a greenhouse
Group Iftar with the women owning a greenhouse
Enjoying the meal and each others company
Enjoying the meal and each others company
Honoring the most active & productive greenhouses
Honoring the most active & productive greenhouses

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Our spirits rise, our roofs are full.
Our spirits rise, our roofs are full.

Welcome to the February update from chilly Deheishe Camp! We hope you and your loved ones are in great health and wellbeing. Karama is eager to let you know more about how our rooftop greenhouses are doing. As you know, Karama has been expanding their initial few greenhouses to now over 110 greenhouses in FOUR refugee camps located on the West Bank – Palestine. These green places are gardens of hope, health, and productivity for the women who can easily become trapped in cycles of hopelessness and depression in the bleak economic and political environment.

Each year we are trying to include more and more women in the project, contributing to food security for refugee families as well as empowerment and (emotional) health for the female owners of these fields. Even before the women are involved in the construction of their greenhouse on their own roof, they will have learned the basics of gardening and know the skills of planting and harvesting. After the first season, the women will have a good understanding of dealing with their greenhouse and can also identify some diseases that might appear in the vegetables they keep. Different styles of workshops are organized; alternating field visits, hands-on activities, lectures and discussion groups.

Continuing, in-depth sessions are organized, still in small groups up to 15 women to make sure all can actively participate. These will focus on protocols of fertilizing their soil and plants, cooling and heating the greenhouse, as well as natural or herbal remedies for common diseases. Unfortunately, greenhouse production is not without diseases, so we have to teach the women how to quickly identify any threat and treat this swiftly in the most natural way. Luckily our engineers know many tips and tricks to keep the plants healthy and strong, many of these are do-it-yourself or herbal home remedies that the women can access relatively cheaply around the house.

Some of the very active participants even dig deeper for more information to know how to optimize their production through different techniques of pruning (taking off additional leaves/branches from each plant) or adding nutritional value through home remedies. In this way, many women could greatly increase the quality of their product as well as their total production – even when already in the harvest season! This is an amazing achievement that makes the women very proud – as well as the Karama staff of course. In the coming months, this experience will be shared with all participants!

In this past month, the project staff also worked hard to organize social activities for the women; getting women from the different refugee camps familiar with each other. The women from Aida camp and Azza camp (both in Bethlehem region) as well as from Arroub camp in Hebron region had an engaging morning in Karama center in Deheishe camp. The delicious hospitality provided by Karama’s bakery did not go unnoticed!

Hope you enjoy this insight in the work of the Palestinian women you are so meaningfully supporting through Global Giving! Without question, your support is very important for this project, for the Karama staff and for the women we are lucky to have participating in this initiative.

Thank you for contributing to hope and health for women in Palestine!

Warm wishes from the whole Karama team.

 

PS: We can’t show you anything yet - but know that the project team also worked very hard on new promotional material for the project and Karama, including a documentary of the progress in the greenhouse project! Stay tuned for the release! :D 

Women learn together - hands-on!
Women learn together - hands-on!
Participants do all the hard work by themselves
Participants do all the hard work by themselves
Greenhouses can benefit from many home remedies
Greenhouses can benefit from many home remedies

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Tasty Production in Karama
Tasty Production in Karama

Welcome back to a new update from Karama Organization. After months of preparations, procurement and training; Karama is proud to continue with another initiative for economic empowerment in the refugee camp. Inspired by and led by the female participants of the Rooftop Greenhouses project, a new space has been renovated and equipped to become a bakery and a community kitchen. A community kitchen for pride and health! 

This idea has been long kept by the community for many reasons; there is a great need for more sustainable job creation and economic development in the camp, as well as a growing concern for the diet of our children and families. That is why our bakery and community kitchen will focus on locally-grown, healthy products, that do not contain added sugars or artificial ingredients. Instead, we will deliver deliciously stuffed loaves of bread, pizzas, and sweet treats to our school canteens, workers and visitors. And serve anybody passing by our shop with a hungry belly! :) 

The Karama bakery is located inside Deheishe camp, on a short distance from the Karama center, the camp schools, and the main road. We aim to employ women who are in a difficult economic position but who are eager to support themselves. The selected ladies quickly became skilled workers through their training and high commitment. Their eager hands now made tasty garlic bread, zaatar-filled buns, pizzas and much more.

This initiative is not only going to support the Deheishe community, but we soon hope to expand to other refugee camps that are part of the Rooftop Greenhouses project. This is especially crucial with the ongoing UNRWA budget cuts; lots of uncertainty among the women about what will happen to some of the most crucial services. Will medication be available? What will happen to the maintenance of streets, sewage systems, and electricity? Are our children going to receive the attention they need in school or will staff cuts continue? Even though the UNRWA is not a perfect organization they are first and foremost a corner-stone in the recognition of Palestinian refugees, our right of return and our suffering during the 1948-war and after. We all know how crucial recognition is in the face of trauma and injustice - and that this should be the basis of peace, not ignorance!

Thank you for your support and love. We hope you enjoy this news update and feel free to share with your friends and families.

PS: Did you notice our new project website is online? Check it out here!   (and we would love to hear your feedback - email us back at volunteers@karama.org) 

PS2: Also check our Facebook page for more updates on our youth activities and women's work! 

New participants of the rooftop greenhouse project
New participants of the rooftop greenhouse project
Soon available :) Come and try!
Soon available :) Come and try!

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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
$29,780 raised of $40,000 goal
 
683 donations
$10,220 to go
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