Gaza Emergency Appeal - Donate Now
Welcome to our June 2022 Newsletter, keeping you updated on our vital work.
1. Supporting Olive Farmers in the West Bank in 2022
Olive trees bear more than an economic significance in the lives of Palestinians. They are symbolic of Palestinian identity and their attachment to the land. The uprooting of centuries-old olive trees has caused significant losses to Palestinian farmers and their families. It has economic, environmental, social, and serious cultural impacts.
For the last forty years, over a million olive trees, and hundreds of thousands of fruit trees, have been uprooted and destroyed by Israel’s military forces and by Israeli settlers; for the expansion of Israeli settlements and their bypass roads, the building of Israel’s separation wall, and also as a result of Israeli settlers’ criminality in the occupied West Bank (where olive groves have been burned or poisoned, completely destroying them).
Olives are a main source of income for around 80,000 Palestinian families. According to UN figures, around 48% of the agricultural land in the West Bank and Gaza is planted with olive trees. Olive trees account for 70% of fruit production in Palestine and contribute around 14% to the Palestinian economy. Of the olive harvest, 93% is used for olive oil production, while the rest is used for olive oil soap, table olives and pickles. Much is for local consumption, with a small amount being exported, primarily to Jordan. With the growing interest in organic food and fair trade, Palestinian olives are now also reaching European and North American markets.
The average olive tree produces between 20-90kg of olives per season depending upon the age of the tree; the older the tree, the more olives. On average, each 5kg of olives produces 1 litre of olive oil, selling for approximately US $8.00.
We are launching an Urgent Appeal that will support the livelihoods of marginalized Olive farmers in the West Bank, helping them to restore their olive groves by replanting new seedlings, replacing those destroyed. Rehabilitating the land will also help to protect the farmers’ land from confiscation. Welfare Association has just completed a project supporting 180 farmers across six villages in the West Bank, by planting over 6,000 olive trees.
2. Winter Assistance and Shelter Rehabilitation in Lebanon 2021-22
The economic crisis in Lebanon has continued to worsen, with the Lebanese pound losing 90% of its value. Extreme inflation, business failures, and mass unemployment have led to widespread and severe poverty, badly affecting Palestinians in the refugee camps of Lebanon.
This project ran for 6 months, completing in April 2022. The first activity in this project provided emergency fuel vouchers to help some of the most vulnerable families living in Wavel Camp in the Bekaa Valley – an area in Lebanon which has severe winter storms. Temperatures regularly drop well below freezing for long periods and the situation can be life threatening for many refugees. As the economic conditions in Lebanon have worsened, access to food, fuel and clothing supplies has become even more limited, especially in the camps. The project supplied winter assistance vouchers to refugees, exchangeable for fuel, which they could use to heat their homes and keep their families warm for several weeks. Due to the fantastic support for Welfare Association’s ‘Lebanon Emergency Christmas Appeal’ an extra 569 families were able to receive the vouchers, bringing the total to 869 families.
The second component of this project was to rehabilitate shelters in Burj El Barajneh Camp, Beirut, to improve the homes of 15 of the most vulnerable Palestinian families living in the worst housing conditions. The renovations focussed on safety (especially electrical wiring), security (replacing windows & doors), weather proofing (repairing walls & roofs) and the installation of essential water and sanitation facilities in kitchens and bathrooms. Thanks to the rehabilitation works, these families now have homes which are much healthier as well as safe, secure and able to protect them from the extreme winter and summer weather conditions.
“I had to choose between warming my only son on cold winter nights, and driving him to his speech therapy sessions, I chose the former. We should all be able to provide warmth and therapy for our children but in my case, as a single mother I depend on my family’s support, and due to the high cost of transportation I had to stop his therapy sessions to pay for winter fuel. I had no other choice. I needed to keep my son warm! Life is very difficult, thank you for bringing warmth to our cold nights.”
*Dalell Ahmed Mahmoude
*Names have been changed.
Thank you for generously supporting our Christmas Appeal, and helping Palestinian Refugees in Wavel Refugee Camp last winter.
3. Emergency Support for Gaza Hospitals, Schools and Small Businesses 2021-22
Following the bombardment of Gaza (May 2021), 113,000 displaced people sought shelter and protection as their homes and businesses had been destroyed. Besides residential buildings, many businesses & offices, schools, hospitals, health centres and pieces of infrastructure were also damaged and destroyed. This emergency project focused on three key activities to treat those injured, help get children back to school and restore small businesses.
Almost 2,000 Palestinians were injured during Israel’s military strikes on Gaza in May 2021; 256 were killed, including children. In responding to the aftermath of the assault, NGO health service providers depleted their limited medical supplies due to the high numbers of injured patients and many were unable to restock. Welfare Association provided 6 hospitals and 2 health centres with urgently needed medications and disposables, so they could continue to treat those injured and save lives. In total, the hospitals and health centres were able to provide services to 42,790 patients through this project.
600,000 children were estimated to have had their education suspended in May 2021 (after already being hugely disrupted by Covid-19 and the various lockdowns in Gaza). As a result of the huge damage to Gaza, including to school buildings, thousands of children were not able to safely-return to their own schools. In coordination with the Ministry of Education, Welfare Association’s project team identified two schools in urgent need of rehabilitation: Lulwa Abdul Wahab Al Qatami Primary School and Suad Al-Sabah Secondary School. Both schools required a wide range of repair works, including; removal of debris, metal & concrete works, roofing, electrical, plastering, tiling, and outdoor works, as well as repairs to water and sewage systems. As soon as the repair works were completed and a safe educational environment was restored to each school, all of the 1,972 students were happy to return to their own schools again.
The damage to buildings and infrastructure also affected many Palestinians’ livelihoods. Welfare Association found in one area of Gaza alone 442 small businesses had been damaged and affected by Israel’s military assault. This component of the project sought to rehabilitate 9 small businesses in Gaza, repairing damaged buildings and replacing essential equipment to help them restart their business and bring their employees back to work. These were a variety of businesses across Gaza, from clothing workshops, technology & internet providers to a medical lab. Funds were supplied to facilitate the repairs and supplies required to get these businesses up and running again. The project funds were stretched to support 10 small businesses in all, aiding a total of over 70 staff to return to work and resume supplying their communities in Gaza.
 1 dunum = 1,000 square meters
We always appreciate the help of volunteers in supporting the work of Welfare Association at events or in our office.
You can help right now by supporting our Appeals and make a difference to the lives of Palestinians