Humanity Voice - Income-generating projects by the association of Womenís Programs in Khan Younis



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  Income-generating projects by the association of Womenís Programs in Khan Younis
By Adli Al-Baraqouni - Humanitarian voice - 2011-02-02

Engineer Shirine Abu Shawish the association's director

Abu Omarís family is one of the Gazan families that has suffered and was largely harmed by the Israeli oppressive siege which added more pains to its already difficult daily living due to the ongoing Israeli attacks on the coastal enclave.

The Association of Womenís Programs in Khan Younis attempted to handle and mitigate such suffering of Gaza inhabitants through its various relief projects that focus on providing work opportunities for many poor and needy families through small productive projects financed and supported by the association.

ďHumanitarian voiceĒ correspondent met with Shirine Abu Shawish , the executive director in Khan Younis, and carried out the following dialogue :

- Would you talk to us about the objectives of your association ?

The name of our association reflects its objectives through integrating woman in the society and let her participate in decision making ,and giving necessary care to her children, which forms a basic issue for the association.

Also the association is keen to develop and empower the Palestinian woman to fulfill her ambitions and basic needs through a series of different social and cultural projects aiming at integrating her in the local society and make her a productive and effective element.

The association was established in 1952 by UNRWA, then it was developed in 1992 and assigned to a local administration from local society.

The association is actually carrying out a series of productive and income-generating projects, while the association itself has recruited 42 women on regular basis. Also the association is supporting a kindergarten for the newly-born and children till the age of 5 years.

- Do you restrict your activities only for women and children ?

Our association provides the biggest part of its activities for needy women and their children in Khan Younis, as we give paramount importance for developing and empowering women in these families.

- Would you talk to us about the associationís strategy ?
Some of the association's activities for children

- The associationís strategy is based on continued surveys and studying for the basic needs of the society in order to realize integration between strategy and controlling systems, to achieve a degree of movement liberty that does not conflict with our prevailing habits and traditions.

- What are the projects that you are carrying out to the benefit of the Gazan poor family ?

- Actually, we are working on ďRabbits projectĒ which is a small income-generating project that alleviate the suffering of needy families in Gaza. The first stage of this project included training women on breeding rabbits according to scientific basis under the supervision of Dr. Saud AL-Shawa from the veterinary services center ( Vitekwa ).

- What are the mechanism by which women can be involved in such projects ?

This project targets the big and needy families , widows ,wives of martyrs and unemployed persons to register and benefit from all the activities of such projects by making them capable to sell some of the rabbits and buy basic daily needs of the family.

- What are your financing resources to cover the associationís activities ?

The association depended , during the last years, on the financing from the UNRWA, but now it depends on the income of its various activities, in addition to external financing coming from some charitable associations and institutions.

- How did the association contribute in the relief efforts, aftermath the Israeli war on Gaza ?

The association has accomplished many activities including a series of specialized workshops to provide psychological support for children, and other workshops to raise inhabitants awareness concerning the dangers of war remnants and suspicious objects.

- What are the associationís activities under the Israeli siege on Gaza ?

- The association has accomplished many charitable activities including seasonal projects e.g. food distribution during Ramadan month through cooperation with the UNRWA, Eid clothing project through cooperation with the Islamic Relief , free medical days to the benefit of Khan Younis inhabitants, and now we are working in these small income-generating projects to the benefit of needy families.

- What are the main obstacles that hinder your associationís activities ?

As result of continued power outages all kinds of our activities were directly affected ,and in spite of having an electric generator, but this is not sufficient due to needs of power in sewing section, and the computer section that needs electric power permanently.

Another problem, is the lack of regular financing to the association and lack of donors, especially after UNRWA had rejected to finance the association due to the change of its administration.

-What are your future ambitions for serving the local society in Gaza ?

In our administration of the association, we are seeking to develop all sections of our activities e.g. we are working to establish a section for food processing like pastries and cakes. Also we seek to develop the embroidery and sewing sections, in addition of establishing new sections to the benefit of Palestinian woman and child.


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