Humanity Voice - Young Men Muslim Association.. 24 years of giving to the poor is threatened



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  Young Men Muslim Association.. 24 years of giving to the poor is threatened
Hebron, Mervit Sadiq, Exclusive for - 2008-07-02

About 1,300 orphans of different ages, over 700 poor families, hundreds of young men who benefit from the social, educational, and sports the Association offers, are under immediate threat of losing their benefit, in addition to a large number of schools and stores, are now also threatened after the Israeli decision to shut down the YMMA and all facilities belonging to the Association in Hebron.
The tragedy began in February 2008, when a contingent of Israeli soldiers raided the Association and confiscated its properties and posted a warning that the Association and all other facilities within its domain were closed for three years. The soldiers confiscated all computers, copiers, office furniture, employee's and beneficiary's files leaving behind nothing but destruction.

The Association is legal and licensed

Hjazi Alja'bari, Chariman of the Board of Directors said that the Association is for the orphans and poor and has no other activity except helping this disadvantaged segment of the society. The decision to close it came as a thunderbolt for thousands of beneficiaries and employees.
The YMMA was established in 1984. At the time it was licensed by the Israeli Government before the Palestinian Authority came to exist. Now, the Association is subject to auditing by few ministries within the Palestinian Authority because of the different activities it performs. The Association deals with the Ministries of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Education and has been filing yearly reports with all three ministries and the PA.

Sponsoring the orphans and helping the poor

According to Mr. Alja'bari, the numbers of people receiving aid from the Association is continuously increasing due to the deteriorating economic conditions.
In addition, the Association owns schools attended by some 1100 students of different ages starting with the First Grade through the Tenth Grade. A similar number of children attend the Association's kindergartens.
Other properties also belong to the Association, all of which are threatened with closure like a number of workshops and stores, all of which generate income that help finance the Associations activities.

Work is continuing .. despite the imminent threat of closures

Mr. Alja'bari said that the order came as a great shock to both students and employees. He explained that immediately after the order, the management took the matter to the Palestinian Authority in an attempt to strike down the order since the Association operated within Area "A", which is administered by the PA according to the Oslo Accords. Finally, the matter was taken up to the Israeli High Court. Alja'bari said that notwithstanding the order, they are continuing to operate and help the poor and orphans.
In addition to students and poor families, the decision to close affects some 170 employees, teachers, trainers, managers, and other specialists.
Despite the threat of imprisonment for five years anyone who enters these facilities, employees of the Association remained in their positions and continued to help the orphans and poor under the difficult operating circumstances.
While the Israeli Government is preparing the legal and political text in support of its order, the YMMA is continuing to perform its duties to the fullest. In fact, it is beginning to enlist new students at its facilities because everyone has reached a conclusion of the necessity to continue to operate regardless of the circumstances.

We donít wait for the poor to come, we look for them

Among the most important principles guiding YMMA operations is that it does not wait for the poor to come in, rather volunteers and employees of the Association go out looking for them.
Tariq Alja'bari, Administrative Director, said that the Association delivered aid to the poor at their homes after detailed reports about the families and the nature of their need are compiled. The Association runs tens of programs with support from international organizations, like E'tilaf El Khair (Coalition for Good) and others. The YMMA is considered a reference for all humanitarian and relief efforts in Hebron.
In one of the most important programs volunteers distribute clothes to some 2000 poor families on the two major Muslim holidays. Sometimes, such activities are carried out in cooperation with other local organizations. On Aladha Day, meat from slaughtered sacrifices are distributed to some 3000 families, in addition to their monthly food parcels.
Relief efforts centers around some 300 families that receive both financial and food aid monthly. Such families are usually forgotten by most. While many may not hesitate to help the orphans, few may think to help a poor family because of the presence of a breadwinner in the family. However, because of the high rates of unemployment, many such families are in dire need of assistance.

Sources of income

Revenue for the YMMA are generated from the projects and real estate owned and run by the association. However, relief programs are usually supported by outside sources, especially from E'tilaf El Khair, which is the largest sponsor of pioneering programs in the Hebron Governorate, in addition to other support the Association receives from Arab and Islamic organization both domestically and abroad.

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