21 Feb Childcare Assistance for the Women in Hebron
This blog is one of this year’s Alumni Project Fund proposals. Throughout the next few weeks, we will be rolling out the project proposals on our blog. If it’s an idea that strongly resonates with you and that you support, hit the ‘like’ button on the Facebook post we share about it or leave a comment at the bottom of each blog entry. Whichever project receives the most votes and comments will automatically advance to the final round of grant selection.
Collaborate with the Women of Hebron’s Cooperative Association to establish a daycare facility enabling the women involved in the cooperative to maximize production of merchandise in support of their families.
Future ideas of the cooperative are to provide training, improve efficiency, and to increase the amount of women involved. Nawal Slemiah, the founder of the association, passionately believes that more women would be involved with the cooperative if they had some sort of childcare available to them. The majority of the women do not currently have access to childcare and therefore stay home to care for their children. This renders them unable to perform much work for the cooperative.
As this is a female-run co-operative, an intrinsic value of this project is female empowerment. It is therefore of fundamental importance that the role of women as primary caregivers is acknowledged and catered for.
WHAT IS WOMEN IN HEBRON?
Women in Hebron is a cooperative that was founded by Nawal Slemiah in 2005 in the increasingly desolate Old City. It is made up of approximately 100 women (sometimes as many as 200 women when times are good) from Hebron and the surrounding villages. They sell their handmade items of traditional Palestinian embroidery, which are beautiful exhibitions of Palestinian artisanship and traditional folk art from the city of Hebron. Their cooperative centre, is based in the village of Idna (population 20,000) southwest of Hebron. Nawal’s cooperative has made a great positive impact by providing employment for many women who are then empowered through their opportunity to contribute to their household income. Some of the women have no other source of income.
We are requesting financial assistance to make modifications to the existing Idna Cooperative Association facility for a daycare room. By providing accommodations for on-site child care, the following will hopefully be achieved:
- Membership will increase. The significance of this measurable goal includes several intangible benefits such as improving conditions for socialization with peers and reducing feelings of isolation.
- Production of goods for sale will increase. Reducing concern and worry related to child care theoretically would lead to increased efficiency.
- Income from sale of goods will increase. Beyond the obvious benefit of this goal is the important idea of the economic empowerment of women.
CONNECTION TO OPERATION GROUNDSWELL
Current Operation Groundswell Program Leader Matthew Walsh founded a non-profit organization (Tully Partnerships) in 2012 to work on projects in the West Bank and has been working with and selling WIH products since 2011.
More over, Operation Groundswell’s 2013 Middle East Program traveled to the West Bank city of Hebron. Using local contacts, the OG delegation had the opportunity to view the current situation in this city from the perspective of both the Palestinian residents and the Israeli settlers/military occupation.
OG typically visits Hebron on its summer programs, as it is a place of great historical importance. Hebron is also a unique contemporary city subjected to powerful forces shaping its destiny and will likely remain a place worthy of international attention.