Benefits of rooftop gardens also reach young women
Let us start with thanking you for the support you have given us in the last months!
In Karama’s previous update we shared with you a bit of the skills that so many women learn during their involvement in the Rooftop Garden project. We mentioned how it increases their self-esteem and also their social and communication skills; a great improvement that helps them to feel better in more aspects of their live! But the story does not end here...
This month we want to give you a bit more insight in the current situation in the camp and explain why we as Karama Team focus on youth as and self-sustainability. In Palestine, we see young new leaders are eager to stand up, change-makers make a difference and inspire their community from within. By giving them responsibilities in our activities in Karama, they are able to grow into their future roles.
When you talk to the youth in Deheishe Camp, you can feel their energy to make a change. Therefor it’s even harder to see that due to a lack of possibilities, this energy grows less every day. Not being channeled to a good cause they slowly lose their force.
Image when you were younger and had many dreams and plans for your future and how you were able to set this in motion to achieve these dreams. Now imagine those same dreams but no means or possibilities whatsoever... Just having to stand by and see your dreams slowly fade away. Eventually this generation is losing hope and is unable to make a fair living for themselves. The negative circumstances lead them to poverty, depression and so on.
Reports confirm that unemployment and poverty in the Palestinian Territories leads young people to frustration and despair. It harms their dignity and creates social and political problems.
The conditions in the Refugee Camps not only affect the mind but it also affects the body. Limited exercise, unhealthy diets (minimum intake of fresh vegetables and maximum intake of sugar), stress; all these factors contribute to health risks. "Obesity, smoking and inactivity are the main health risks for young people," a report says about the Palestinian youth. As stated in an article by Hazem Balousha "A number of studies have shown that 25% of adolescents and 30% of girls are obese or overweight. An UNRWA study said that 70% of females of reproductive age and more than half of women under 30 are overweight."
Let’s meet Ibrahim, he is a 22 year old refugee from the Deheishe Camp. Although he studied at a University, he is not able to find a job that matches his education. Not wanting to give up under the circumstances he now works at a fruit stand at the side of one of the main streets to Bethlehem. Here he earns about 30 Shekels a day for working as much as 8- 10 hours a day…
Please keep in mind that 5 Shekel is about 1 Euro and the taxi drive to his work place already costs him 3 Shekel! Now he is barely able to contribute to his family, not even thinking about saving for his future. You can imagine this can break somebodies spirit. But you will see that the youth here have a strong spirit and are willing to work hard to make a difference for themselves.
Not willing to abandon them to their fates, Karama offers the youth of Deheishe a first step to a better life. And we hope you will do this with us. We believe that together we can make a difference.
Benefits of projects focused on youth by Karama
One of our goals is to empower young people to have the ability and life skills to change their own future. By giving them a safe (learning-) environment where they can put their skill in to use, they can gain work and life experience that will prepare them for a future where they can be self-reliant. By doing so, this will increase their quality of life. That is why, in the next round of rooftop gardens starting this spring we want to engage the young people from Deheishe. The UN Youth Fund has already showed interest in funding gardens for young refugee women in the camp and Karama is eager to engage them in this initiative!
Will you help us to include more participants, so we can also engage young men like Ahmed in this project? With 600 dollars we can start an extra garden. If 12 of our supporters donate 50 dollars we can already help Ahmed to produce on his roof!
Producing food will give the youth in Deheishe Camp both physical independence and psychological freedom from the occupation. They will learn to be able to take care of themselves and maybe even to take care of their families in the future. And pass their skills onto their own children.
Something we see too often over the past few years is the outflow of educated, talented youth from Palestine abroad, unable to find a fair job in their own country. This emigration of intelligent, well-educated individuals to somewhere else for better pay or conditions causes Palestine to lose skilled and ambitious people. Something we are so bad in need for! We will go against this trend and ‘brain drain’ and maybe even inspire those who left the land to come back and use it. To plant and harvest together for a happier and healthier life.
Keep the Palestinian youth in your thoughts!:)
We love to hear from you!
Young volunteers developing their skills as guides