The many challenges of 2021 have only proven the need for ongoing resilience support for Palestinian refugees, as multiple factors contributed to the increased vulnerability of refugee communities such as economic challenges, covid-19 lockdowns and the already harsh situation of refugee families. The Palestinian society is marked by years of conflict, de-development and dependency on foreign aid. As well, many communities live in unsecure situations, where the Israeli military occupation limits movement and development. Adverse conditions are accentuated in the refugee camps, which were originally built as a temporary solution to the Palestinian refugee situation.
In Deheisheh Camp, with more than 15.000 inhabitants, the densely populated environment places strain on under-resourced schools, sanitation systems and health care providers, as well as the lack of empty spaces and over-crowdedness, which affects mental health and well-being.
“I clearly remember being so impressed when they placed the tubes on my roof, then the big bags of soil. We were depended in everything on the project’s agricultural engineers when we started. It has been three years and this year I have been dealing with the greenhouse all by myself.”
“There is something comforting about work in the soil, and I have especially felt its calming impact during the confusing times of 2020.”
“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… which I shared with my family and neighbors.”
“The outbreak of COVID 19 in Bethlehem was a really depressing time for my family. My children were affected from staying at home and not having much to do. Fighting was a daily thing, I started asking for their help in the greenhouse and around the house to give them some distraction, which they really enjoyed.”