WAUK Newsletter 22/09/2017

1. Emergency Support to Gaza Farmers 

The Emergency Support to Gaza Farmers project is providing essential support to farmers, enabling them to restore and replant agricultural assets that were damaged in the summer conflict of 2014. The project is aiming to rehabilitate 300 dunums (1 dunum = 1,000 square metres / 0.10 ha) of agricultural land and return them to productivity. This will include the restoration of 28 damaged greenhouses. It will mean that 130 farmers’ livelihoods will be restored and once again they can plant their lands and secure a regular income for their families. At least 3000 working days will be created for unemployed workers.

Here is a story from the field, as the project reaches its midway point:

Ahmed* is a Palestinian farmer who lives with six family members in Al Shoka near Rafah in Gaza. He owns three dunums of land that was damaged during the 2014 assault on Gaza. Since then, he has not had the financial means to replant his land and he and his family have become dependent on humanitarian aid.

Ahmed said, “Since the conflict of 2014 my life has been miserable. I could not work my land, I could not find other work and as a result I cannot support the basic needs of my family. I lost hope. ”

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Since the start of this project Ahmed’s life has taken a positive turn. He explained, “This is the first project in our area since 2014. I knew about the project from the community committees that have been formed by the project team. My land was levelled and ploughed as part of the project. I have also received seedlings, equipment for irrigation networks, and fertilizers”.

He added, “This has made a huge difference. I returned to work. My children are happy to help me plant and harvest the melons at last. I had a good season with good production. My land has yielded five tonnes of melons so far, and I expect to have another two tonnes by the end of the season. I have made almost NIS 6,000 [US$ 1,700]. This amount is sufficient for me to plant my land next season [the beginning of September]. Now I can support my children myself.  I just got them ready for school, with new school uniforms and stationery. Life is finally getting back to normal after three years of despair.”

*Names have been changed. 

2. Establishing a Kidney Dialysis Unit in North Lebanon

Welfare Association contributed towards this twelve month project providing lifesaving kidney dialysis services for Palestinian refugees in Beddawi Refugee Camp in Tripoli, North Lebanon. Since the influx of Syrian refugees into the overcrowded refugee camps, already limited services have become even more overstretched and underfunded. Kidney Dialysis.jpgOn top of this, around 95% of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon do not have any health insurance or access to medical services. For those requiring tertiary healthcare for conditions such as kidney failure, the outlook is particularly bleak. Patients typically require 2-3 $100 per session. Obviously the long term cost implications can be crippling. Before this project, many patients were forced to make the expensive trip to South Lebanon from the North for their treatment (transport alone costing up to USD$160 per month). In order to reduce this economic burden, Welfare Association helped to establish a new Kidney Dialysis Unit in North Lebanon to serve the population of Nahr El Bared and Beddawi Refugee Camps and surrounding areas. The newly constructed Kidney Dialysis Unit is of the highest quality and in compliance with international standards. The centre was opened and fully functioning with the first kidney dialysis provided on the 20 February 2017.

3. Emergency Support to Palestinian Refugees from Syria in Lebanon for Eid al Adha 2017

This one month project provided 1,682 vulnerable, conflict-affected Palestinian refugee families living in Rashidieh, El Buss and Burj El Shemali refugee camps in South Lebanon with a one-off distribution of meat during the Eid Al Adha holiday.

The festival of Eid Al Adha (known as ‘the feast of sacrifice’) honours the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, as an act of obedience to God's command.

Unfortunately, many families are unable to afford sufficient food on a daily basis, let alone being able to afford additional food for special occasions.  Many skip meals, reduce portion size and change their eating habits. 

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This is particularly the case for the Palestinian Refugees from Syria. Since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, over 1 million refugees have sought refuge in neighbouring Lebanon. The Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS) are some of the most vulnerable. Numbering over 32,000 in total in Lebanon, these families have found shelter in the existing refugee camps and “gatherings” (unofficial settlements) that house Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee population of over 280,000.

Through this project, Welfare Association provided a one-off distribution of meat (either 2 or 3 kg of fresh beef, depending on the family size) for 1,682 vulnerable, refugee families living in Rashidieh, El Buss and Burj El Shemali refugee camps in South Lebanon for Eid el Adha, allowing these families to celebrate in traditional style, and also enjoy a nutritional meal together.