WAUK Newsletter 09/03/2018


1. Emergency Winterisation Support for Families in Gaza and Gaza Emergency Winter Appeal

 Thanks to the generosity of our supporters and donors during our Gaza Emergency Winter Appeal 2017/18, this project has exceeded its original targets: even more children were provided with warm winter clothes and more families were given packs of blanket than originally planned. In total, 225 packs of blankets and 750 sets of winter clothing for children aged 5-17 years were distributed. This benefitted 270 families.

 225 families received a pack of two heavy quality blankets, and 750 children received vouchers for new winter clothing. The families took the vouchers (and their children) to pre-qualified stores, where they could choose pyjamas, jeans, woolly jumper, underwear, socks and a winter jacket, plus a hat, scarf and gloves for each child. They were able to select the style, fabric and colour of their choice rather than being given things that were unsuitable for their needs.

 With the ongoing blockade of Gaza, and the major damage to homes and destruction of infrastructure caused by the Israeli military bombardment of Gaza in the summer of 2014, families are struggling to cope with the harsh winter weather conditions. There is also massive disruption caused by Gaza’s latest electricity crisis, where supplies are limited to 3 hours a day.

Story from the field: Mahmoud*

Mahmoud’s family lives in Gaza, their home is in very poor condition as a result of the military bombardment in the summer of 2014. Their small home has cracked walls and ceilings, which they couldn’t afford to fix. 

Gaza Winterisation story from the field edited.jpg

The house is subject to continuous flooding every time it rains and flooding from the street and the nearby sanitation station.  Mahmoud takes care of his 70- year old mother in addition to his wife and children. He is unemployed and has been looking for a job for the past few years with no luck. He relies on assistance from the Ministry of Social Affairs. He receives occasional supplementary assistance from local NGOs. The family are surviving on less than US$100 per month which barely covers their key daily needs.

Mahmoud’s family received two blanket packs and chose three sets of winter clothes for their children at a pre-qualified store.  Mahmoud said “I was unable to provide my kids with winter clothes. Your help came at the right time to prevent my children from getting sick with the flu and cold. The situation of my family continues to deteriorate, and your help really makes a difference. Thank you”.

*Names have been changed.


 2. Restoring the Livelihoods of Gaza Farmers

This eight month project providing emergency support to 175 farmers in Gaza was completed at the end of 2017. It supported some of the farmers most badly affected by the bombardment of Gaza in 2014. These farmers faced extensive damage to agricultural assets, including equipment, greenhouses, land and crops.Gaza Farmers woman in greenhouse edited.jpg

The project was able to restore 300 dunums[1] of damaged agricultural land back to productivity, by clearing, ploughing and planting the land with seedlings and new crops, as well as repairing 45 damaged greenhouses. Specialist technical advice and coaching was provided for each farmer: to advise them on the crops most suited to their specific land’s soil types and to plan irrigation schedules to maximise the crop yield and income potential of their land. In addition, a total of 4,340 working days were created for 192 unemployed workers who otherwise would have been unable to secure work. Not only has the project helped these farmers to restore their income and their livelihoods, they can now secure their families’ daily needs. Furthermore, after selling their crops locally, they can replant for the upcoming seasons.  Follow this link to watch a video of the project.

Gaza farmers man with tomatoes edited.jpgApproximately 2,050 tons of crops were harvested and sold for a total amount of US$ 1.1 million. This helped to increase the quantity of crops available locally for families at affordable prices, contributing to food security and the local economy. Some of the farmers are planning to slowly expand their production step by step, using income each year to gradually rehabilitate and restore further land.

Story from the field: Fadi*

“After the assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014, my greenhouse was struck by missiles and badly damaged, it became redundant”, Fadi informed us on a field visit. Fadi is a 40-year old farmer living in Rafah, in the south of Gaza, in an area known as Mosabih. He has a family of nine (four children at school, a daughter studying at university, and his older son who used to work with him in the greenhouse). Fadi’s parents live with him, both are in poor health but still used to work with him in his greenhouse, which is the main source of income for the whole family.

Gaza Farmers tending to tomato plants edited.jpg“In 2014, during the assault we fled the area and could not return to check the greenhouse. When we did return the greenhouse was very badly damaged. The whole area was reshaped by the missiles” Fadi said. He was shocked when he saw the damage to his greenhouse and the destruction of all of the crops it contained, he was reliant on these for his income and to repay his suppliers. The huge shock and stress of this financial disaster affected his health and Fadi had a heart attack and open heart surgery. Following his recovery he was able to work but with some limitations on the amount of physical work he could do.  Since the greenhouse was damaged, the whole family became reliant on handouts. However, these are insufficient to support his large family. Fadi’s elder son was only able to find a very modest income from labouring for other local farmers.

Fadi said:  “This project changed our lives. I heard about the project from the vegetable market where I found information. The project team visited my greenhouse and saw the level of the damage and assessed the restoration cost at US$1,600. They repaired the greenhouse and provided me with 2,500 tomato seedlings and fertilisers.

 Gaza Farmers destroyed greenhouses edited.jpg“My son and I are back to work now. My health has improved after being released from the depression of debts and unemployment. I started to repay my debts and scheduled my payments with suppliers. The suppliers agreed to provide me with the seedlings for the next season. We are taking good care of the greenhouse and the tomato crops, which we started to harvest and sell. So far, my sales have reached US$2,500 and I expect them to reach US$4,000”.

“Thank you Welfare Association. I can now support my whole family again; I just bought my children’s school bags and paid the first instalment of my daughter’s university fee. I am productive again. Life has returned to my family.”

*Names have been changed 

[1] 1dunum=approx. 1000sq metres


3. Emergency Winter Support and Shelter Rehabilitation for Families in the Bekka Region of Lebanon.

This project began in October 2017 and is providing winter support and shelter rehabilitation assistance to some of the most vulnerable families living in Wavel Refugee Camp in the Bekka region of Lebanon. The project is providing 700 Palestinian refugee families from Syria and 70 of the most vulnerable host community Palestinian refugee families in Lebanon with emergency heating/cooking fuel assistance. Beneficiaries have received vouchers which are then redeemed for winter fuel (essential for cooking and heating) only. The vouchers are for 2 x $25 for each family so the family may collect the fuel as and when they need it, and not all in one go which is difficult to carry. It is expected that the vouchers will be sufficient to cover their heating/cooking fuel needs for around 1 month.  

children keeping warm lebanon winterisation edited.jpgAs the Bekka region is currently hosting over 1,800 Palestinian refugee families who have fled the crisis in Syria (7000+ individuals) this has resulted in a shortage of resources and very limited accommodation options.  As well as provision of winter fuel this project will also rehabilitate 12 shelters for Palestinian refugee families from Syria. The works will prioritise structural safety (e.g. cracks, corrosion, ceilings, roofing, rewiring) health and hygiene (water and sanitation in kitchens and bathrooms) and security, privacy (windows and doors repairs) and other weather protection issues. The project is aiming to support 4,235 vulnerable people in total. 

Story from the field: Amin*

Amin* is a Palestinian refugee from Syria living in Lebanon since 2012. Amin, his wife and four children live together in a small shelter in Wavel Camp in the Bekaa valley in Lebanon. He is paying US$ 150 for his rent every month. Every winter, his roof leaks (the roof is made of corrugated metal sheeting) and Amin tried to fix it with polythene sheeting. However, the polythene did not prevent the cold wind and winter temperatures from entering the entire house. “It was like that since we moved to Lebanon, and we couldn’t find another place with low rent that we could afford” – Amin said while pointing at the roof. “We used to spend most of the day with our neighbours trying to keep warm” – Amin’s wife said.

Lebanon shelter winterisation roof off edited.jpg

lebanon winterisation roof on edited.jpgAnother problem the family faced was that their bathroom was located outside of the house. Every time they wanted to shower, they were at risk of being electrocuted since the wiring for the water heater was under the polythene lined ceiling of the bathroom.  


  With the support of Welfare Association, Amin’s shelter was rehabilitated. Together with his family, he can now sleep in a warm and safe shelter. The dilapidated old roof was removed and replaced and it is now waterproof, and the dangerous water heater in the bathroom was replaced. New tiles were installed on the floor, and the old windows were replaced. “We are warm and safe now. Look at our children having fun – this was a rare sight before” – Amin said at the end of the interview.

 *Names have been changed