New Team of Young Environmentalist
A whole new team of young environmentalists has joined the Environment Unit at our partner, Lajee Center. They are learning about recycling and water testing. And they got out into the mountains to enjoy Spring in Palestine, too!
Walk for Water April, 2017
Over 300 walkers from all walks of life showed up early on the morning of April 22nd to the South Plaza in Cambridge. We had over 20 different teams that included students, activists, organizations, families, and other individuals coming from all around the Boston area and beyond. We also organized a Walk for Water in DC the next day. We raised over $65,000 that will help us expand our water testing and environment programs into other high-need locations in the West Bank. It will also enable us to continue working toward securing the location for the preschool in Aida Camp.
Expanding the Environmental work to Al-Walaja Village
One month before the Walk, 1for3 lead the 5th annual WSSS delegation to the West Bank. 5 graduate students with their professor along with the Environment Unit in Aida Camp started a new water testing program in Al-Walaja Village near Bethlehem. The delegation was part of expanding the environmental work we established in Aida to another needed location. Your support of our work will allow us to build a sustainable unit in Walaja that is run by a group of youth from the village to help improve the water quality and the health of people there.
Service Trek, May 2017
In May, 1for3 organized and led a Service Trek for 17 graduate students from the Harvard Kennedy School to cultivate future work in the area of education, health, and technology. The students divided themselves into three groups specializing in business, health, and education to visit and meet with Palestinians and learn about these fields, as well as to help advance our work.
Ongoing Development on the Rooftop Gardens in Aida Refugee Camp
Meanwhile, the Environment Unit continues to conduct water testing and environmental education in Aida, Al-Azza, and Al-Aroub Camps. The rooftop garden project is expanding to reach more families. Due to the success of the greenhouses in the camp and their impact on people’s lives, new organizations are joining in the effort to help build greenhouses in Aida Camp.
Management of Household Waste in Aida Refugee Camp
1for3, in a partnership with the WSSS program at Tufts, the Stockholm Environment Institute in York University, and the Environment Unit in Aida Camp, are working on a Citizen Science project to improve management of household waste in Aida Camp. This project is designed to provide multiple benefits such as reducing waste in the streets and promoting a cleaner environment. We will also work to sustain the Environment Unit by selling compost and providing it for rooftop gardens and by selling the upcycled/recycled non-organic materials that youth have been producing for years.
Community Health Program in Aida and Al-Azza Camp
Finally, 1for3 is working in a partnership with doctors from the Division for Global Health Equity at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital and a team of doctors and health providers in the West Bank to establish a community health program in Aida and Al-Azza refugee camps in Bethlehem. The decision to establish such a program is based on results from three medical missions that we organized in the past as well as on research by local and international doctors from Boston on existing health services to refugees and focus group interviews with residents of Aida and Azza camps.
Hosted a temporary health facility at Al-Azza and Aida camps in Bethlehem, focusing on child and maternal welfare, as well as ENT (ear, nose and throat). Health professionals from Boston, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem tested and treated 250 patients.
Began assessments for a new water testing program at Al-Azza Camp, by funding a team from Tufts University's Water: Systems, Science & Society program to conduct surveys and water quality testing.
Funded one more rooftop garden in Aida Camp. This phase included 10 rooftop gardens for needy families. Six were built by 1for3 and four by Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition in California.
Funded youth health and wellness activities at Aida. The program includes sports activities that take place at Aida's playground.
Continued funding a scholarship at Al-Quds University allowing the Lajee Center's Environment Unit director Shatha Al-Azza, to complete her Master of Science in environmental studies.
Funded new water testing programs at Al-Azza Camp, Al-Walaja Village in Bethlehem, and Al-Aroub Camp in Hebron through fall 2016. The goal is to replicate the successful environment unit in Aida Camp at these locations starting with water testing, and then moving to rooftop gardens and recycling programs.
Organized the first Walk for Water 5K in Cambridge, Massachusetts to support Palestinian refugees. More than 20 teams, 217 walkers, participated.
Organized a team of physicians and health professionals in partnership with Medical Missions for Children (MMFC.org) and, in April 2015, traveled with them to Aida Camp to treat patients at a temporary facility. This trip focused on maternal and child welfare, while gathering data to for establishing a community health center. The team tested and treated 240 women and children.
Built fifth successful plot for the rooftop garden project. One on Lajee Center's roof was built by a youth group as part of the training program on food independence. Data from a camp-wide health survey identified 29 food-insecure families. 1for3 paid for materials to build rooftop gardens for four families, reducing their reliance on externally sourced produce. 1for3 plans to fund more rooftop gardens as it evaluates individual households' needs. Funded scholarship at Bethlehem University for the director of the Music Unit at Lajee Center. The director meets with students for 4 hours per week to coordinate music lessons and training.
Initiated medical clinics in two refugee camps. American doctors worked alongside Palestinian healthcare staff from the West Bank.
Co-sponsored Mohammed Al-Azzeh, media director at the Lajee Center, to speak about and exhibit his work on Aida Camp at film festivals and universities around the U.S. Al-Azzeh discussed the effects of the Israeli occupation on the lives of Aida residents, which in turn helped expand the work at the Lajee Center to other Palestinian communities.
Built rooftop gardens for three needy families at Aida. Families own the gardens and save nearly 60 percent of their costs on produce.
Funded workshops to educate youth on environment and agriculture. These workshops help families sustain their rooftop gardens.
Initiated an athletics program to boost youth health and wellness activities at Aida.
Sponsored a major fundraiser in Boston, Massachusetts, to support media program at Lajee.
Funded and built flood control system that diverts floodwater from Aida Camp playground so community can use it in winter.
Funded Lajee's media center, a critical element of its program for outreach, fundraising, documentation of its activities, and for youth learning about media literacy.
Outreach and communication trip to UAE. 1for3 presented its work to individuals and organizations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, who supported our work.
Conducted the first ever health survey of Aida Camp residents with the Lajee Center and Tufts University's Water: Systems, Science & Society program. Survey data was key in identifying overall needs of the residents, as well as harm caused by their lack of access to adequate clean water.
Provided needy Aida Camp families with 29 new rooftop tanks. The crews identified families in need based on initial water quality tests. Replacing rooftop tanks decreases contamination and incidence of diarrhea and other water-borne illnesses.
Built three prototype gardens at the Lajee Center and created a space where Aida residents (particularly youth) can meet to study agriculture. Each garden at Lajee is 12.5m2, and contains fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Built first prototype rooftop garden at Lajee, establishing an ongoing garden project. The garden allows youth to learn about water usage, agriculture, and public health.
Funded travel and expenses for professors and graduate students from Harvard and Tufts Universities to conduct research at Aida aimed at identifying the most pressing water, health, and related educational issues to be addressed by future projects. Research trips took place in January and August.
Established and funded technical scholarships at Bir Zeit University, a top engineering center in the West Bank, for two students from Aida Camp. Recipients, in turn, volunteer at Lajee Center.
Worked with a faculty and graduate student team from Tufts University to conduct preliminary research on water resources at Aida Camp. The team — part of the university's interdisciplinary WSSS Program — successfully started an ongoing water quality monitoring and testing program that continues to document problems of water supply and contaminated water at Aida Camp. Testing program later grew to include 15 local teenagers working on water and environmental projects at Aida and elsewhere in the West Bank.
Conducted an initial health survey at Aida to help determine camp residents' health and wellness needs. This survey provided the basis for later research.