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This fundraiser ended on 05/17/10

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Volunteering with Karama to help with their work of supporting the refugees of Bethlehem's Deheishe Refugee Camp.

Greetings friends!

Tony & I have the opportunity to volunteer for one month this summer, June 2010, with a small non-affiliated NGO working with Palestinian refugees in Bethlehem, located in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank. 

Karama organization is strategically situated in the heart of Bethlehem’s Deheishe Refugee Camp. Its purpose is to offer women, children and adolescents a safe haven and to equip them with the skills required to succeed in life. Services range from counseling and education to life skills and recreation.  One appealing aspect of Karama is that workers can have a direct impact by working among the refugees, and are encouraged to develop their own projects, classrooms, and creative endeavors.  Karama depends on volunteer workers on the ground to carry out its mission.  Our main focus will be on teaching ESL (something I have been doing with the Arabic community in Brooklyn for the past year).

We have a personal connection with this region as we were there 20 years ago and saw some of the hardships first hand.  We have long since desired to return and work in one of the camps, and the opportunity seems to have finally availed itself, but we will need to raise funds for this trip.

Summary of the situation and brief background:
The camps are overcrowded, unsanitary, lacking heating, air-conditioning and hot water. Clean water and electricity are sparse, sewage disposal is malfunctioning and waste disposal is virtually nonexistent. Infrastructure and administration are severely lacking, and there is a drastic shortage of medical equipment and supplies. (Only one specialist of heart and stomach diseases is responsible for 150,000 refugees!). Schools are beyond capacity, teachers and school supplies are in short supply, and there are no playgrounds or youth services to speak of.

Since 1948 in the wake of the War of Independence, over 700,000 Palestinians have remained a displaced and disenfranchised people. In 1949 the UN established refugee camps throughout the region, and various NGO's have since worked to improve the conditions of the camps. Karama is one such organization. Faced with harsh physical and psychological realities, along with other sociological and political tensions, young Palestinian refugees find themselves vulnerable and desperate. Karama provides residents an oasis of safety and hope, and by supporting this endeavor you will be helping to ease the daily hardships of refugee children and their families.

The estimated cost of this trip is $4000 total, which we need to raise by May. Inexpensive accommodation will be provided, but we need to cover the cost of food and transportation.  We will keep you updated.

Blessings and many thanks for your support and prayers.
Salam, Shalom, Peace.
Brita & Tony

“Communities of faith and hope, who love and serve in the spirit of the Messiah, are a healing, reconciling, and inviting presence among the nations.” – David Shenk

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