About Friends of Alrowwad UK
We are the UK support organisation for Alrowwad in Bethlehem, Palestine - united in our passion to help www.alrowwad.org/en/.
Alrowwad Cultural and Arts Society offers workshops, training, scholarships and other opportunities for women and children with the ethos of encouraging beautiful and artistic non-violent cultural resistance. Their new building offers a guest-house, carpentry workshop, and is working towards completing the restaurant and media lab.
Our organisation was registered as a UK charity by the Charity Commission in 2019. We continue to reach out to partners in the UK and abroad and we work closely with our Friends in France, Luxembourg, America and Australia in the hope that this will provide a stronger network of support for Alrowwad in Palestine.
In 2017 we co-produced with Alrowwad and published "Bethlehem; Beautiful Resistance Recipes" - a cookbook drawn up from recipes and stories collected from across Aida Camp. Dr Abdelfattah Abusrour, Manal Odeh, Murad Abusrour, Melissa Scott, Lucy Lyon and Ingrid Van Loo all worked together for over a year to pull it together. All proceeds from sales of the book went to Alrowwad.
We have held several fundraisers, including a Christmas "Bethlehem Concert" ; a fundraising dinner and we have run a few times in the Palestine Right to Movement Marathon, held annually in Bethlehem to raise money for Alrowwad.
In December 2020, we will be partnering with other organisations to host the virtual Bethlehem Arts Festival 2020 - a celebration of this Palestinian town through it's arts and cultural institutions.
Aida Refugee Camp
The Aida Refugee Camp in which Alrowwad Centre exists accommodates about 4,000 people (650 families) who took refuge in 1948 and 1967, from 35 different villages around Palestine. This camp, like the other 21 camps in West Bank and the 8 camps in Gaza, was established with tents, as a temporary emergency camp, but has since been transformed into a permanent refugee centre.
Since space is very limited horizontal expansion is not possible and so the camp lacks child-friendly areas and playgrounds where kids can play. After 53 years of living in this refugee camp refugees are still hoping that the UN will apply its resolutions concerning their legal right of return to their own lands that have been taken by Israel.
Around 40% of the camp's population are children. The camp has two schools run by the UN; one for boys and another for girls. The camp is located at the northern border with Bethlehem. Its main entrance is closed by cement blocks, placed by the Israeli Army. The illegal 'Gilo' settlement, built mostly upon the Palestinian town of Beit Jala, borders the camp, constituting a serious threat to the camp's population, due to frequent cases of harassments, shootings and shellings.
Since October 2000 Aida camp has seen 12 Palestinians killed and over 150 injured, including 80 injured children. Over 400 homes and the UN-run schools have been damaged. Many have been psychologically traumatised; for some, childhood is a nightmare. In 2017, a University of California, Berkley study found the community in Aida to be the most exposed to tear gas in the world. Dr Rohini Haar, lead researcher stated " From my years of doing this kind of research, it is, in my opinion, unprecedented to use this quantity of tear gas over this length of time"
Alrowwad seeks to offer some relief from these traumas.
Our International Partners
Friends of Al-Rowwad France (Société des amis d'Al-Rowwad)
Friends of Al-Rowwad USA
Please make a difference to the lives of the women and children of Aida refugee camp by donating to Alrowwad - all funds received are passed directly on to Alrowwad Centre