Funds from our wonderful “Women of the Levant” calendars were slated for use in two projects. One was to continue our ongoing programme of support and therapy for Gaza’s severely traumatised children.

The second was to help 52 mothers in Beit Lahiya who are suffering extreme hardship to develop a life skill to gain independence and support their children.

The Palestinian Association For Development And Heritage Protection, whom we worked with in the past for the delivery of a children’s library and playground, undertook the project. They are a grassroots organisation based in Beit Lahiya with the local network to identify and deliver the training.

Over a period of 4 months, they trained 52 women in valuable and much needed tailoring and embroidery skills, for repair work as well as to continue the rich heritage of Palestinian embroidery. In tandem, all were encouraged to find ways to start their own projects and find paid work in the areas they were learning.

The project was so successful that it was considerably oversubscribed, and the centre is looking for ways to support the women who did not make it onto the training.

And at the end, as is traditional, there was a graduation ceremony, an exhibition, and a dabke dance show with many of the graduate’s children and siblings.

30 year-old Yasmeen comes from a family of 9 in Beit Lahiya. With the severe construction on Gaza’s economy as a result of Israel’s blockade, her family is typical in that no one was able to find paid work. So Yasmeen jumped at the opportunity to get involved in this programme and registered.

The more she trained, the more she found that she loved this work and its creative outlet. And at the end, she started to get her own income, as well as through the association, doing work that she enjoyed.

“I feel very happy and comfort by my help in my family expenses, I discovered my love and passion to the work I do, this help me to reach my needs.”

As always, our thanks and gratitude to everyone who bought the calendar and helped bring this project to fruition Without your kind and generous support, nothing happens.