Supporting Each Other to Protect Their Livelihoods Even Under Difficult Circumstances

The Israeli occupation continues to threaten the human rights and lives of Palestinians. Women also face other difficulties such as domestic violence and restriction on activities outside the home in a “patriarchal, male-dominated Arab society.” JVC works to help women and youths achieve social and economic independence in East Jerusalem that is a strong conservative society. In Gaza, which is under blockade, repeated air strikes have failed to restore infrastructure or improve poverty rates, and more than 60% of the residents need support. Because of the severe malnutrition of children, the program aims to spread knowledge to mothers about parenting that can help improve nutrition and development, to create a system that facilitates children’s access to medical services.

Activities in 2022 (East Jerusalem)

Vocational training and soft skills training for women

JVC conducted soft skills training, which included women’s rights, to deepen understanding of the rights of each individual in a society that is said to be male-dominated. 339 women, 45 men, and 199 youths participated in the training. The survey carried before and after the training showed that there was a gradual increase of 36.7% in understanding women’s rights. In vocational training for women, 46 women participated in various training programs, including courses in bakery & pastry, makeup artistry, nail art, and graphic design, of which 45 completed the programs. Over half of the women participants have started or plan to start a small business after the training.

Soft skills training

Results and challenges in 2022

To make the activity more effective and expansive

Some participants live in outskirts of Silwan and Al Thouri districts, which is the base and activity site of our local NGO partner “Al Thouri Silwan Women’s Center (AWC)”. For them, it took more than an hour to reach the training facility, so we are expecting AWC to expand its activity area. On the other hand, training courses with low participation rates required reviews based on preliminary needs assessment. In addition, since it is difficult to see the results of learning from each other such as the exchange of experiences among vocational training students, we will consider how to implement the program and measure results from the next fiscal year onward.

Measuring ingredients in vocational training for pastry making

Activity plan for 2023

Vocational training and training for improving self-esteem

Vocational training for women and youths will be continued. In order for women to acquire social and economic power, it is important not only to gain skills but also to have self-esteem. So, we are going to provide life skills training with a focus on self-esteem that supports the willingness to act with vigor and take on new challenges. We also plan to maintain the support system so that women and youths can continue to take actions toward social and economic independence.

Opening a bazaar stall with skills acquired in vocational training

Activities in 2022 (Gaza Strip)

Medical checkups for children and workshops for mothers

Health checkups were conducted through home visits and at other facilities (including local kindergartens), with 1,332 children under 5 years of age being examined. Children with nutritional or developmental problems found through health checkups were referred to hospitals or specialist institutions. Additionally, short courses for cooking (20 sessions), awareness (37 sessions), and toy-making (13 sessions) were held for mothers with the aim to transfer parenting knowledge that will help improve children’s nutritional status and development. In total, 1,107 mothers participated in the workshop. Furthermore, participants exchanged information with each other and transferred knowledge to non-participant mothers.

Results and challenges in 2022

Training of Community Health Activators

In the Gaza project, our local partner NGO, “Ard El Insan (AEI),” works with volunteers who have been trained as Community Health Activators (CHAs). Through several years of appropriate training, they acquired necessary knowledge and skills to conduct health checkups and workshops. We plan to train more CHAs with a training period of about six months, focusing on expanding parenting knowledge and connections in the community.

Active questioning by participants

Activity plan for 2023

Deepening connections for childcare

We will continue working to improve access to medical services and health conditions of children under 5 years old in more vulnerable areas. For this purpose, we are going to train more CHAs as parenting advisors, transfer the knowledge of parenting to mothers, and promote connections with relevant institutions. Concurrently with this, we plan to provide medical checkups for children under 5 years old, as well as training and individual counseling for parents. Moreover, the mother support group will provide a place to exchange and share information on child-rearing between guardians. This will give a chance to mothers to acquire knowledge on how to improve their children’s nutrition and development conditions.

Toy-making workshop for mothers

Voices and Messages

What I gained was a great sense of accomplishment

East Jerusalem: Maisaa

Participant in the graphic design training

I attended AWC’s training for the first time because I wanted to master skills that would lead to income. To be honest, at first, I had a hard time keeping up and thought I was the worst among the trainees, but with the help of instructor’s attentive guidance and other trainees, I was able to successfully complete the 40-hour training course. I feel very accomplished now.

Maisaa (center)

My daughter’s health condition has improved

Gaza Strip: Mariam

My daughter Liin was inactive with no appetite, and I was concerned but couldn’t figure out the reason. At the clinic, she was diagnosed to be anemic and was given iron pills, but they did not help. It was only after a checkup at AEI that I learned that I had given the iron pills incorrectly. I also got to learn about nutrition and now my daughter’s anemia has improved. I greatly appreciate it.

[Source: JVC Annual Report 2022]

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