Karama's Mission and Goals
Karama, Arabic for ‘dignity’, is an independent nonprofit organization in Deheishe Refugee Camp in Palestine, founded in 2002. Through our community center and activities, Karama aims to restore a sense of dignity in and among our people so we can build together towards a dignified and resilient Palestinian society. We target to improve the life of the women, children and youth in the camp through broadening and supporting their educational options and fuel their abilities, skills and creativity. This is done by enabling projects that encourage own initiative, self-reliance and create a young leadership.
In our daily work we do not only fight the enduring occupation of our people, our land, our economy and our educational system, but we also resist the occupation of our thoughts, mentality and dreams. For this reason, we stimulate in our projects the values of critical thinking, self-reliance as a community, collective work and voluntarism and above all; keeping hope. We aim to instill a sense of self-care and self-respect in all our participants while we motivate them to believe in their own strength and capabilities and take responsibility for their own life, choices and happiness. Karama works within and for the Palestinian society and believes education is key in fulfilling our mission.
Karama commits itself to the following goals:
- Support and widen the educational opportunities and psycho-social care available for children and the young generation. With this aim we e.g. run daily activities in our community center as well as involve ourselves constructively in the UNRWA schools (the main provider of education for most refugee youth).
- Welcome women in positions of ability and responsibility by setting up activities and projects that stress their competences and give them a sense of ownership and self-esteem. Through educational groups as well as Karama’s rooftops garden project, women’s know-how is expanded, opportunities are created for skills-development and more positive attention is given in society to women’s role and rights.
- Create possibilities for our youth and women that stimulate responsible leadership and give them a sense of hope and prospective. Karama encourages voluntarism and collective work, with children participating for years in our program to become then active as young leaders in our center and even community. Karama’s yearly summer camps are an important way to engage our youth in topics crucial to their development as responsible inhabitants of Palestine.
- Facilitate cultural exchange to generate more understanding between Palestinians and internationals, promote dialogue and build bridges across rifts of misunderstanding, anger and frustration. This happens through our international volunteer program that invites people from all over the world in our community and helps young people become familiar with each other away from the news messages, and better understand each other’s mentality.
- Raise awareness abroad about the Palestinian struggle and life under occupation. Karama recognizes the need to offer a face instead of just numbers, real interaction rather than a news headline. Through our volunteer program we stimulate people to become powerful witnesses in their own communities, while trips abroad allow our staff and youth to impact and change the image of Palestinians among all people.
- Respond to urgent needs that come up in our society and be a constructive actor in the daily functioning of our community. Examples of this are our role in the UNRWA schools, contact with other social actors and emergency assistance during strikes of school personnel or winter storms.