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Activities in February 2014
Karama was very pleased to receive the news that our partner Lush has decided to continue funding our rooftop garden project for another year! Through this partnership another 8 women will be included in the project. After the winter, the upcoming spring is the perfect time to start building the gardens and improve the lives of these women and their families. Yasser started to source all the needed materials with local suppliers so we can give the families the most efficient garden so far! We have taking note of all the lessons learned during the previous projects, so we are very keen to apply these.
Soon the women will be selected and have their first meeting together. We hope this project will not only grow a great harvest but also the self-esteem of the participants.. Gardening will positively impact both their physical and emotional well-being!
So if you have a Lush store in your city - selling those delicious, natural, hand-made soapy products - why not show them some love and thank them for their great charity program?:)
Jacob and Sindre joining our team!
It is great to welcome several new volunteers in our center - who are all doing a great job in providing activities for the children of Deheishe. Though not an easy time to start their volunteering time - because of the strike - Jacob from the UK and Sindre from Norway are giving their positive energy to make Karama a great place to be in. Jacob is already a frequent blogger on his own website and will now also share some of his insights in our newsletter.
Hi, my name is Jacob and I’m from England.
I wanted a chance to travel to Palestine before starting University in September, in order to witness life in a refugee camp at first hand. I arrived at Karama at the beginning of January – a month which in theory should be the heart of winter but in fact has been very sunny. It was my first time in the Middle East and already my experiences have introduced me both to the wonderful Palestinian culture and to dozens of children who visit Karama from day to day. This is a very special place where kids are protected from the adult world around them. Karama nurtures a unique two-way relationship between the international volunteers and the children; while I hope I am enriching their lives in some small way, it is me in the end who is learning more. This applies to everything, from guitar skills to Arabic language.
Due to the UNRWA strikes, Karama have been hosting 1st grade morning classes. I came here hoping to improve my Arabic and these basic lessons, perfectly suited for my level, have been extremely useful; Palestine’s loss has been my gain, it seems. In the afternoon I often do English reading and guitar sessions, both at varying levels due to the range of ages at Karama. I spend some of the morning outdoors in Karama’s small vegetable patch. There is also a greenhouse on the roof, part of the women’s project and the latest development at Karama. It is a wonderful initiative and a very effective movement towards sustainable living.
January 2014 News update
Missing the structure and classes of the UNRWA schools could greatly influence the children’s learning process and future! Karama started to provide emergency classes in collaboration with some teachers, to make up for some of the missed study hours. Every early morning, the children line up at the Karama center and participate in Arabic, Maths and some outside games. This helps these young ones to not fall behind too much in these important subjects. However, to reach more children we still want to attract more teachers in this initiative and create more tables and benches. An effort you are welcome to support!
Both in Deheishe and in the UK we are very pleased new volunteers are sharing their energy with Karama! Laila and Jacob have joined us in Deheishe while Joely joined Karama UK as a volunteer last month to help with fundraising and administration. She studies Politics and Arabic at the University of London and has recently returned from a year in Palestine. Her experience of working with charities and her love of Palestine will for sure contribute to Karama UK’s progress this year!
Laila honoured our organization with her stay during this winter, which was her first time in Palestine. She tutored the children in French and though the levels of the kids differed greatly, all of them really enjoyed her lessons. With her help the English adult books in the library were correctly registered so we can better use the wealth of information present there. Both her host family and the children in Karama really enjoyed her presence and we are thankful for all her efforts!
Newsletter December 2013
Karama is very excited to announce a new partnership established this week! Humanium is an European NGO protecting the rights of the most vulnerable children all over the world. Now Karama and Humanium have joined forces to improve our facilities for the children of Deheishe. Our first project will aim to create more sport tools in our new play area, among them the construction of a basketball area and a volleyball net. This will help our kids to enjoy the benefits of more active games and team sports – which is crucial for their emotional and physical development in this tough environment.
The back yard has been used for a wide variety of games in the past month, engaging the children in physical activities and group games.
Our gardens thrive this fall!
With your support and the work of our local volunteers both our rooftop micro farms and the garden outside are in full growth at the moment! Downstairs, the garden has been planted with a wide variety of vegetables and a stone path was made. Click on a picture to open our ablum and see the pictures that show the beautiful progress over the last weeks..
On the roofs in Deheishe, more work was done to transform the rooftop garden and better protect the plants during this coming winter. The first cucumbers and lettuce could already be consumed from the greenhouses, while tomatoes, green beans and peppers and growing steadily. The greenhouses clearly keep the warmth inside and create a great environment for the plants to grow faster and higher.
The facilities of our library are soon to be enlarged as two previous volunteers from Canada have been able to raise funds in their home country! Emma and Holly joined Karama in 2012 and greatly supported Karama's library during their stay. Back home they continued to be supportive of Karama, which resulted also in the collection of funds. With this generous donation we will be able to purchase more books, as well as hire a local volunteer to take regular care of the library system. In this way more children will be allowed to take books out and we hope to soon welcome the women of our community as well to use our selection of adult books!
But it was about time to restore the playground at the back of our building. Sadly the floor was broken and the area was in need of a full restoration project! After months of searching for funds, Karama could finally start to make the area safe and attractive again for sports and group activities. We raised the height of the surrounding walls, renewed the water waste system and levelled the floor. This all took a lot of energy and efforts, but the end result is superb!
The ground was covered with a grass mat which will increase the safety of this area greatly! No bruises or bleeding knees anymore, the kids can run and drop as much as they want. The area now offers a lot more space for activities. We can not wait to use the area for a bunch of new games and sports!
This summer Karama started off with a very special activity. Our long-term supporters know we have brought together kids in different settings before - exchanges with Denmark preceded in previous years. This year however, we arranged a different coming together...
The village Khirbat Zakariya, became completely surrounded by settlements as the Etzion settlement block was constructed around it. The villagers face intimidation from settlers who pressure them to leave their land. They are not allowed to build on their land, resulting in a lack of living space let alone safe recreation places! Settler intimidation makes it difficult or sometimes impossible for the villagers to travel or receive guests. This makes the kids here isolated from other Palestinian communities. Though it is only a small distance away from Deheishe our communities barely meet.
So Karama teamed up with UNRWA and Education Department to bring together the children from Khribat Zakariya and Deheishe Camp for a week full of activities, new experiences and new friends. The camp encouraged the children to interact, make friends and learn about each others' situation. Educational and fun activities were organized with the help of social workers, aimed at providing a positive outlet for the children's energy. Karama was able to provide all the costs of the camp, which included transportation, food, day trips, equipment and t-shirts for all the 65 participants.
This experience made a lasting impression on the kids, who benefit greatly from building new friendships and getting to know their peers. The interaction during the camp thought them new things and contributed to their feeling of confidence and self-worth. In Palestine we are sometimes even unable to meet our neighbors in the next village, but this summer camp tackled this problem for a short time!
Help the children of Deheishe today! Donate to Karama!