Al-Rawa’in Success Story
Christian Aid är en av The Women’s Training Program-EJYMCA främsta bidragsgivare. Det är en Brittisk organisation som kämpar för att exponera fattigdom och utmana och förändra strukturer och system som gynnar de rika och mäktiga över de fattiga och marginaliserade i över sextio länder. Christian Aids arbete bygger på kristen tro, inspirerat av hopp, och verkar för att förändra en orättvis värld genom välgörenhet – “A practical love and care for our neighbours.”
Just nu samlar de in olika korta historier av deras verksamhet runt världen. Den nedre historian skrev jag på uppdrag av WTP-EJYMCA.
The small bedouin community of Al-Rawa’in lies southeast of the Bethlehem governorate. Procuring vegetables in Al-Rawa’in was one of the main challenge that the community faced up until June 2015. This is because there was no market on site and the closest market to the village was approximately 18 km away. Moreover, residents do not have access to public transportation services. This means that whenever they needed vegetables, they had to carpool and travel long distances. This was costly and time consuming. The only other option was to wait for the vegetable merchant to pass by. The vegetable merchant generally passes through the village once every two weeks but sometimes it is only once a month. This merchant sold his vegetables to the community at extremely high prices since it was necessary for him to travel a long distance to reach Al-Rawa’in.
After undergoing the PVCA training, residents of Al-Rawa’in have identified poverty, unemployment, and a lack of income generating opportunities for women. These were the greatest risks facing their community at that time. The community members’ main source of income used to be earned through livestock and animal husbandry. However, the cost of production was too high, so in the end, they had to sell most of their animals. The men in Al-Rawa’in started travelling to other villages and cities to work on farms for some months of the year until they could gather sufficient income that would help to support them and their families for the entire rest of the year. The East Jerusalem-YMCA-Women’s Training Program decided that establishing house gardens in Al-Rawa’in and distributing “inputs” will help contribute to minimizing the risks (mentioned above) and would be a solution to the challenges faced by the community to acquire vegetables. Therefore, 19 house gardens were established in total for 22 women, altogether benefitting 35 families (240 individuals). Each house garden has a land area of between 150 to 250 square meters, and is prepared with a fence, drip irrigation pipes, a water tank, fertilizers, and fertilizing machines. The women underwent agricultural training, provided by the YMCA-WTP, and learned the basics of farming and how to utilize the equipment. Seeds and transplants were also part of the house garden package.
Three months after cultivation, the families no longer needed to buy vegetables as they currently had access to more diverse, and organic food sources locally. The women beneficiaries are currently able to save money and have begun purchasing seedlings and transplants by themselves. They have been producing huge amounts of tomatoes, lettuce, thyme, courgettes, aubergines, and others. For those that have surplus, community members sell or trade vegetables with each other. Community members have trouble marketing and selling their surplus outside of Al-Rawa’in due to restrictions from Israeli checkpoints. However, through facilitation of the YMCA-WTP, the women producers have been connected to two merchants from Bethlehem. The two merchants travel to Al-Rawa’in periodically to purchase and collect these vegetables from the women. The women are currently very proud of their produce.
Mona Arara, age 38, is one of the beneficiaries of this project. She was new to farming prior to the training and has 13 members in her household. “Before I had a house garden,” she said, “my family was limited to consuming only what was locally accessible to us. Tomatoes, onions, and potatoes were the most common. There was little to choose from, meals were not diverse. Since WTP has implemented this project, this is no longer a problem! Now all of us in the community are able to consume a variety of healthy vegetables that we can grow ourselves!”