Nableela and other 9 women leave their houses in the early morning to pass through Israeli military checkpoints that is excruciating the Palestinian inhabitants of the old city of Hebron (H2). The ten women are managing a food processing unit called Al-Zahra’a kitchen in the old city of Hebron in the south West Bank. A delicious smell spreads to all the corners of the kitchen that those women establish to sell pastries and deserts they prepare .They are excited to gather in this space that has become a source of income for their families with their face masks and physical distancing measures to COVID-19 are well adhered to.
Figure 1(Photo of working women in Al-Zahra’ Kitchen within “Valiance “Basala”-Empowering women in the old city of Hebron,H2,”-Hebron Governorate -South of West Bank-copy rights for ActionAid Palestine 2021)
Through a grant provided by ActionAid Palestine’s project “Valiance-Basala”, whereby necessary equipment was purchased, and a professional training on food production was delivered. the ten women established this kitchen as the first project of its kind in this area after Hebron municipality offered them a space in Al-Zahra’a park in 2019.
Women reported that in addition to the personal satisfaction this project brings, they enjoy being part of other social activities that contribute to raising awareness and supporting women’s social exposure and economic participation through enhancing their access to productive assets. concurrently, women are able to address the structural causes of discrimination and violence against them through their collective efforts to analyze the social, economic, and political context that affects all aspects of life.
Al-Zahara’ Kitchen Project has provided a space for women to be aware of each other’s concerns, and to stand strong in the face of the diverse problems they have experienced together, such as exclusion from taking part in public sphere. Through this solidarity space, women raise their consciousness about their rights and problems so as to find solutions that don’t cause harm to them and their society.
Those women are working in informal sector that are negatively affected by COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lockdown since March 2020. With the closure of schools and prohibition of public activities, and face to face events, women lost many of their customers. Despite of this situation, women tried to cope with the new conditions and come to work in the kitchen in reduced numbers and found new customers according to health and Safety measures and protocols.
Najwa Idris (47 years old-) who is the only provider for her family that consists of 10 members expressed her happiness for being part of this project saying: “ the project is very important for me as it a source of income for my family and it strengthens my status in the society. It allows me to utilize my free time and enjoy working in this work environment”.
Figure 2(photo of Najwa while she is working in the women kitchen in the old city of Hebron-Hebron Governorate -South of West Bank -Copy rights for ActionAid Palestine 2021)
Maysoon Al-Jamal is another woman working in this kitchen highlights its impact on her life saying: “it introduced us to the community and we became independent in providing for our families” and she also highlighted the impacts of COVID-19 on this project: “ School canteens were closed due to safety measures in schools and this closure affected the sales for our products”.
Nabeela Al-Tamimi (53 years old) is another woman working in this projects that improved her conditions saying: “this projects makes my active member in the community and achieved my economic independence, I enjoy producing healthy food in this kitchen and contributing to combat unhealthy food habits among our children and community members”.
AAP supported 22 women to establish their enterprises in the H2 area of Hebron. This included the provision of agricultural items and equipment needed for planting vegetables and livestock farming and other commercial items …etc. Economic activities combined with and awareness raising have supported women’s social and economic empowerment through enhancing their access to productive assets. concurrently, women are able to address the structural causes of discrimination and violence against them through their collective efforts to analyze the social, economic, and political context that affects all aspects of life.
ActionAid in Palestine (AAP) is a part of global federation working for social justice and gender equality and eradicate poverty in more than 45 countries around the world. AAP started its work in Palestine in 2007 to strengthen the resilience of Palestinian People as ActionAid believes that they should enjoy their rights to freedom, justice and self-determination. AAP implements a number of programs through its engagement with communities and women and youth groups seeking to empower them and enhance their influential civil and political participation to understand their rights and undertake collective activism to address the protracted rights violations resulting from the prolonged occupation of Palestine. AAP works simultaneously to enhance their leadership capacity and knowledge to practice their citizenship in holding authorities and other duty bearers to account.
For more information, please contact
Coordinator of Advocacy and Communication in Palestine
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+972 (0) (2) 22 13 137