On-Going Projects (4)
The Community Health Workers (CHW) have continuously been working hard to meet their goals of spreading wellness and aiding camp residents to overcome barriers that they may face in maintaining their health.
In the month of May, the team of 6 CHWs continued meeting with social worker, Hamza Daghash, across 5 different meetings to enhance their professionalism and proficiencies while visiting and caring for patients. They also experienced an increase in the number of patients from 10 to 20 between the 20th to 30th of May. The CHWs consistently pay home visits to the patients with various doctors to monitor the health of these patients.
In addition, they attended intensive training in first aid conducted by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society across a duration of 2 weeks.
In the month of June, the team held many meetings with the project director, Nahsat, to discuss the direction of the CHW project. They also continued to attend 4 meetings with the social worker, Hamza and collaborated with Dr Davin, a psychologist to further enhance their capabilities in dealing with patients.
Between the 6th and the 19th of June they met with the patients along with various doctors such as Dr Mohammed Abu Srour and Dr David. They monitored the cases to evaluate if the health of the patients had experienced any improvement or not.
They also visited the Palestinian Red Crescent Society to meet and further collaborate with the team there.
Between the 24th and 25th of June they had meetings with their donor, 1For3 and a group of doctors from the US to discuss how the project was going and the achievements made so far.
On the 26th of June the community Health Workers along with international doctors visited and patients around the camps and gave them advice if needed be.
The following day, the health workers made a trip to Berzeit University where they spent two days with Rita Giacaman, a professor of public health at the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University in the West Bank. The Community Health Workers in Aida and the U.S team had a great workshop with Rita and her team on the history of the community health worker programs in Palestine, where the 1For3 team gave a workshop on the history of social medicine and community health work in the U.S, Latin America, and Haiti. Over 50 medical students from different universities in the West Bank joined us along with professionals from the field of health care.
The month of June primarily consisted with many meetings with different medical groups and collaborators to discuss what else was needed and how to expand the project further.
As for the month of July, on the 16th, the musicians, dabka dancers and community health workers visited the Elderly Center where they performed for them and did recreational activities together with the elderly. They also conducted some medical tests and checks for them before distributing flowers to them.
Between the 8th to the 26th the community health workers led the Children’s summer camps and educated them on basic hygiene, health awareness and common diseases.
They also continued to meet regularly with Hamza, the social worker and Dr Bram gave a lecture on Osteoporosis to the health workers.
It was also monitored and observed that the patients overall experienced improvements in their health.
As of August, there is a total of 60 patients in the care of the CHW. The CHW are paired up and are responsible over 20 patients in each pair. On the 8th, they conducted a workshop with a nutrition specialist and a specialist doctor to educate the patients on what sort of food and nutrition was ideal for them in their various health conditions.
On the 10th, they went with the international summer camp participants to different hospitals around Bethlehem – The Arab Association for Rehabilitation, Beit Jala Public Hospital, Caritas Baby Hospital as well as the elderly home, to introduce the internationals to the different health services in Bethlehem.
As for the month of September, the team have conducted a free eye clinic on the 3rd and 4th as well visited the children’s cancer ward and the paediatric ward in Beit Jala hospital on the 13 th of September.
They have also been attending many lectures and programmes conducted by Dr Henry as well as making house visits with him.
Any patients facing complications in their treatment are brought to the hospital upon detection by the CHWs.
The team hopes to continue to grow steadily under the guidance of their directors and coordinators as well as looks forward to the upcoming collaborations with other health professionals from Palestine and beyond.
The environment unit at Lajee Center along with the people of Aida Camp are so proud to present their first Recycled Art Exhibition including art made with recycled materials. Local people from Aida Camp and Bethlehem City, the families of participants, and the local media came together to celebrate this creative and inspiring work by a talented team of young teenagers and their teacher Shatha Al-Azzah.
The environment unit was founded two years ago with generous help from the WSSS team from Tufts University, 1for3.org, the Pontifical Mission, and recently Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, as well as many people who believe of our rights and freedom. For the past two years, the environment unit team has been working on water testing and quality in the camp, as well as helping families learn about agriculture and how to maintain rooftop gardens, and experimenting with lots of recycling materials to encourage the community, especially the young generation to become more and more aware of the environment locally and globally. Check our website for previous work and projects that the environment team did.
The goal of the exhibition and of the environment unit in general is to encourage our community, especially the young generation to think about the environment around them in new, different, and creative way, as well as to promote recycling of different forms of materials. As well as to create a space for our youth where they can challenge their abilities in creative and fun way that is completely new to them.
The exhibition includes mirrors, clocks, shelves, installations, tables, chairs, pots, candles, toys, and candles holders, all were made from materials that the students gathered from their homes and the camp. Not only that, the participants were inspired to publish their first magazine called “The Green Camp”written in English and Arabic, and includes articles from them about their work and projects in the environment unit.
It was a beautiful day for us at Lajee and in the camp seeing the youth happy of their achievement and their families very proud of them. This is due to their hard work and the generosity of our friends and partners in 1for3.org, WSSS, Al-Awda, and the Pontifical Mission. Keep supporting our work to keep the hope alive, and to empower our community until peace and justice are achieved.
“I was amazed by all the people who came to the exhibition… it’s a strong sign of the strength of the community here. I think what the children have mad with the recycled materials is really beautiful. It’s great that they will be able to use the skills they have learned at home and that there is a big push to raise ecological awareness.”
- Miguel Rodrigues, Madrid, Spain
“Shatha and the volunteers have created a wonderful exhibition here. It’s incredible what such a small group of youth with limited resources are able to do here. I think the ideas that they promote are incredibly important.Lajee Center really does a great job at supporting this kind of work.”
- AllaDajnam, Aida Camp
“We’ve made many things here at the environment unit and we are proud of ourselves. We have really learned a lot from participating in the project. Now we have a very strong connection to the environment.”
- Sarah, volunteer for the Environmental Unit
“I am very happy that the exhibition was a great success, the students have worked very hard over the past two months to create all the recycled products we have on display. I feel like we have managed to achieve a lot in the unit and I’m excited for us to continue our work. It was a wonderful moment seeing the smile on everyone’s faces here today. The best part for me was seeing how proud the parents were of their children and really believing in them, to me this was the greatest success of the day.”
- ShathaAlazza, director of the environment unit
We are proud to report that the rooftop gardens project of the Environment Unit is expanding to reach more families in more refugee camps in the West Bank. This project provides food security for the residents who are suffering from the Israeli occupation and through these gardens they feel a sense of connection to their lands which were stolen from them.
The project encourages them to keep their traditions alive, and to continue striving to make significant changes in their lives despite the obstacles that they face. With each seed planted, they resist the eradication of their land, culture and history.
The Environment Unit is monitoring the progress of the gardens and have observed that most families are able to yield crops from their garden every season. The families meet their needs by growing vegetables and fruits organically, without any chemical fertilizers.
The Environment Unit is also working hard on a new project on the rooftop of Lajee Center. Two days ago, children and volunteers worked together in the heat to create some major renovations to the rooftop garden above the center.
The old greenhouse will be turned into a huge, cosy shed where volunteers can hang out with one another and activities can take place.
Garden furniture is crafted out of recycled wooden pallets and the walls of the roof are also being painted on to make the area more vibrant.
We really hope that the rooftop gardens project continues to grow and can impact more families throughout the West Bank.
Lajee Center, in cooperation with 1For3 Organization and international health experts has recently launched a project meant to develop health services and support refugees in Aida and Beit Jibrin refugee camps, due to the lack of adequate health services and treatment of chronic diseases (especially diabetes and hypertension), in addition to the lack of any health center in the two camps.
The project, titled Community Health Workers, is the first of its kind in Palestine, and a link between the doctor and the patient by following up on their health status.
On 28 January 2018, Lajee has published a job recruitment ad to find Community Health Workers from the local community. 25 people applied for the job, and six people were selected based on specific criteria.
Following that, Lajee held meetings and lectures with international and local specialists in order to train the medical team on how to deal with previously mentioned chronic diseases. The workers also received field training on the integration in the medical community.
On 11- 15 February 2018, the project founders met with those who were accepted for the job in order to be introduced to the project, its work plan, goals and future.
The team consisted of the director of Lajee Center, Salah Ajarma, Project Director, Nashat Jawabreh, Medical Director, Mohammad Abu Srour, Project-Based Professor, Bram Wispelwey, in addition to the Project Coordinator, Shatha AlAzzeh.
Dr. Bram started giving lectures on hypertension and teaching health workers how to measure blood pressure, using equipment and number readings under the supervision of the medical staff. On 22 February 2018, the Health Workers underwent and exam about what they learned on hypertension, while health researcher Henry explained the detailed nature and requirements of the work of Community Health Workers.
On 23February, Dr. Bram held a lecture on diabetes, including its symptoms, treatment and medications. During the training period, workers collected information and made a presentation about the complications of these chronic diseases and about the project as well.
In march 2018, the remaining meetings and lectures were held and on 8-9 march, Psychologist Professor Devin gave lectures on the psychological obstacles that may be faced by health workers in the camp and how to deal with these cases.
The health team was trained at the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation, and another was trained in a health clinic for two days.
The field visits for the patients in the two camps officially started on 15 March 2018. The workers introduced the families to the project and the nature of their work. They collected information about patients' cases, established good relations with them and followed up on their cases until the end of their work. In addition, the workers kept their medical information in a record to track it.
Dr. Mohammad Abu Srour gave lectures on the medication of diabetes and hypertension to health workers. Later they met with social worker Hamza Daghash, in addition to the project manager and the coordinator, to discuss the drafting of the reports.
During the month of April, the community health workers re-visited the patients in Aida and Beit Jibrin camps to follow up with their cases. They made a schedule for the names and time for medications, in addition to setting a calories diet for each patient in order for them to be aware of what to eat and when to eat it in coordination with the medicine.
The most recent meetings were held with social worker Hamza Daghash. The health workers also met with the project coordinator, Nashat Jawabreh, where it was agreed to have a first aid course during the month of May.
Names of health workers:
1. Mohammed Ahmed Roumi
2. Mahmoud Tayseer Al-Mashayekh
3. Sara Mohammad Al-Azza
4. Maryam Ahmed Darwish
5. Rama Waheeb Abu Srour
6. Ashgan Jumaa Dareweis