Communities can have different relationships with different organizations. In some cases, organizations can be made up of members of a community. An example would be the baladiya council, or parents who make up an organization to support their children’s school. In other cases, organizations can come in from outside a community with a desire to work there. An example would be an NGO that comes to work in a community to provide health or educational services.
Fadia from the Jordan Valley Solidarity House talks about her experiences working with Dalia Association, a Palestinian organization, and their role in supporting the women in their community.
Dalia Association is a Palestinian organization, and we thank them for all what they helped us with when we first got introduced to Dalia. It was mostly workshops on raising awareness among Palestinian women, what is her role? What are her responsibilities? What are her rights and her duties… And this organization, much thanks to it, we were able to gather as Palestinian women in Faisal Fouqa.
We met and were asked to identify what we wanted from this community. The majority voted for a park for the children to play in, and we wanted a mobile kitchen for our children that would only have healthy food that us Palestinian woman make by hand, and of course we got the help from Dalia Association. It played the role in encouraging Palestinian women to become working women.
Let’s start with the mobile kitchen. The mobile kitchen was meant to be a cart, but this cart was impossible to have because we are in Area “C” and Israel imposes on the people here its authority. It’s not allowed to have in this area a structure for work, so Dalia helped by providing me with a cart in order to make Falafel sandwiches, hummus, Labneh, Martadelle, for children of a certain age. There are no restaurants or anything available in this area. This area is inhabited by a large population but there are no job opportunities available so Dalia Palestinian Association provided me with a cart that moves from one place to another in times that I choose, changing in summer and in winter. So in the summer popcorn, light sandwiches and Falafel, sandwiches for school children. So this was how work was being sustained. In the winter, I made Turmus, corn, and types of food that would help, as a Palestinian woman, to produce an income and to help encourage women to do this type of work.
With all the work and effort, how we did our paperwork, or how we gathered ourselves to work with Dalia Association, it was just an idea at first. I always wanted to have work of my own for myself, for my own freedom. So when we suggested this idea when we were meeting with Dalia Association during the workshops, they said that they can help with part of the expenses and all the thanks to them, they helped me and showed me where to start and thankfully I am still carrying on with this work.
There are a few challenges nonetheless, high living expenses first of all, and to sustain this type of work it needs further support for now. Currently I can’t keep on with the work that I am doing because whenever the prices go up I have to keep going with my family members as well, with children and their needs. So my resources were reduced, the resources that I needed to keep doing my work.
But an organization can also form a community among its members. That feeling of community that people have working together in an organization can be an important part of what keeps people in the organization and makes the organization productive. Within organizations, individuals can create safe spaces within the larger community to discuss issues specific to them that may not be shared with the rest.
Louay from Bayt Byout talks about how a community is formed within an organization and the dynamics between the people involved.
In the beginning, when we were community, we were not an organization, we were a group. We had a lot of work with institutions that worked here in the city with children. So the type of outreach with us was with the private relationships with individuals that we knew in the city. So from talk, we had the ability to do 1,2,3 and we had experience for example with children that were in the Hebron area, we created for them games. So from this outlook, the project seemed pleasant, so they asked to showed them what we can do, propose the plan for us, for example. So in the beginning it was through direct communication with individuals that were in charge of organizations that dealt with these types of exercises, so they can happen in marginalized Palestinian areas.