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
Karama's closing ceremony included women sharing
Karama's closing ceremony included women sharing

Hello all!

Karama recently closed the current cycle of its women empowerment and food security initiative. Over the last four years, 220 women have successfully set up a greenhouse, supported their household food security, and found support in the weekly meetings and regular social events. The last year has been particularly hard on the refugee camps, but still the green havens proved their sustainability and relevance to the women and their families. The greenhouse initiative now enters a new phase where Karama will plan more related and sustainable activities for the project communities. Congrats to all the participants, staff and supporters!

 

I had two of the most successful seasons during COVID 19. I was very happy to stay connected with the engineer through continuous video calls, she guided me through the entire planting seasons. It is true that I did not sell harvest this year, but I planted a variety of crops including peppers, beans and tomatoes, which I shared with my family and neighbors. This the most I have been thankful for the greenhouse it helped me in a difficult time.

34-year old participant from Al-Arroub

 

Karama Organization over the last months continued to support the local response to COVID19 and connects regularly with local health institutes and organizations to address needs and promote adherance to health and safety regulations. One of the ways Karama hoped to make a contribution, was by undertaking a small research among our rooftop greenhouse participants to discuss and analyse how refugee communities have been impacted by the COVID19 crisis. Karama was amazed to see that almost all participants from the 220 greenhouses have continued succesfully planting and harvesting their greenhouses. This means the trainings in the previous years have made women capable to independently take care of their greenhouse!

Production levels (kilos harvested) was also comparable to pre-COVID19. Only, women sold less. Most was distributed for free. This is likely to the harsh economic situation and a sign of solidarity among the women and their communities. In the areas of economy and education, we are greatly concerned by the negative impact of the virus and its implications. Especially students from the UNRWA schools have suffered greatly from the closure of schools and the suspension of activities. For most of them its 1,5 years of education lost. We are afraid this impacts not only their immediate development but also their future changes on employment. Especially since they seem to have suffered more than the students that attend private schools.

 

Karama now puts its energy in a new phase, where the shining women of our community will remain front and central. Food production activities, the bakery and micro- and small businesses are among the activities supported these months. And we will look for new ways to support our communities in the area of education and food security. The greenhouses will continue to grow and flourish, with one Karama engineer remaining available to support anyone. 

Thank you for making this possible. We hope you are encouraged to continue to engage with our cause and we would love to hear from you.

Read the full research here!

Several people were thanked during the event
Several people were thanked during the event
All women happily received their certificate!
All women happily received their certificate!

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Lush winter harvest for the greenhous owners!
Lush winter harvest for the greenhous owners!

Dear friends around the globe!

Thanks for checking in with Karama and the women in Deheishe, Aida, Azza, Arroub, and Fawwar refugee camps! We hope you are doing great and would love to give you a brief insight into our activities of the last month.

Did you know that:

-        80% of the greenhouse owners have been able to successfully continue their activities in the greenhouses during the months of closure and lockdown; only a few of the women experienced some trouble either because they were waiting for inputs from Karama, support from the project’s engineers, or were restricted due to limited time.

-        All women who were active in their greenhouse had a successful winter harvest of a wide range of vegetables and herbs, including spinach, beans, eggplant, peppers, garlic, onions, sage, thyme, parsley, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

-        The women last week had their first large meeting since many many months. Because of COVID19, we were not able to organize any normal sessions, but continued our activities with smaller groups (up to 5 women) and online using WhatsApp and Facebook groups.

-        During the COVID19 crisis that started last March, 93% of the participants have a LESS stable and secure income. Many families still do not know when their next payment will be and how much income they will have this month due to the difficult economic conditions and insecure jobs the breadwinners hold.

-        70 workers who lost their jobs in the last year have been engaged in cash-for-work activities by Karama Organization and were able to support their households with a one-time monthly income.

 Looking at the bright side of the past months, the participants and their households are enjoying a range of healthy winter dishes from their rooftops. We are hopeful group meetings can restart in the coming weeks, to continue the social and economic empowerment of the female participants.

Thank you for being part of this and supporting Karama to make this happen! 

Have a look at our Facebook page for more pictures! 

Excellent tomato growth for this participant
Excellent tomato growth for this participant
Several women planted eggplants on their roofs
Several women planted eggplants on their roofs

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Proud participants going strong during the crisis.
Proud participants going strong during the crisis.

We hope everybody is in good health and safety! While previously this time of the year in Karama was marked with summer camps, field trips, and international guests and volunteers, these days are now focussed on supporting the resilience of our communities and helping most vulnerable families in Palestine. If you are interested in hearing more about what Karama is doing during the COVID19 crisis in Palestine, check out our COVID19 response page on GlobalGiving and our special webpage.

This newsletter we would love to take the opportunity to get to know some of the women of the project more personally. With over 200 participants spread out in five refugee camps, each woman has a unique story and special contribution to this initiative. Through the small group sessions, intensive interaction with the project’s engineers and social worker and many initiatives for collaboration and companionship, many women notice a change in their personalities and outlook on life through the greenhouse.

One of these women is Ne’ama from Arroub refugee camp who joined the project in 2017 and received a greenhouse on the rooftop of her father’s home. Ever since the project activities expanded to the Hebron region, the women from Al-Arroub camp have made an amazing contribution; their enthusiasm and commitment to their greenhouses is well-known in the region. 28-year old Ne’ama has benefitted in her own words in uncountable ways from the greenhouse; from the green views, from the feeling of being productive with her own hands, from the financial benefits, from the solidarity it creates among women and from connecting to a platform where she has found her voice and can express her big heart for her society. Especially during the recent Coronavirus crisis, Ne’ama has lost her shyness and passionately assists in the community response. Read her full story on the project website here.

Ne’ama is even featured in a success story video made earlier this year by Karama Organization. If you haven’t seen it yet you can find it here on Karama’s Youtube.

Another proud participant is Intisar from Aida camp, who joined the project only a few months before the pandemic hit our society and restricted project activities. Even though Intisar has benefitted less from weekly meetings, she has still been able to learn all the necessary skills with help from the engineers, home visits, and social media interaction. She is growing cucumbers in her first season and proudly feeding her family from her hard work on her roof. Read more updates through our recent Facebook posts.

 

Thank you all for making this possible! 

 

Stay safe and stay connected! 

Even without meetings women continue in daily care
Even without meetings women continue in daily care
Proud Ne'ama in her greenhouse!
Proud Ne'ama in her greenhouse!

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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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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
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