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
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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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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Organization Information

Karama Organisation for Women and Children's Development

Location: Bethlehem, West Bank - Palestine
Website:
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Project Leader:
Yasser Alhaj
Bethlehem, West Bank Palestine
$32,414 raised of $40,000 goal
 
753 donations
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