MiniActive

Let’s Boast a Minute about MiniActive Youth

As the school year winds down and children and youth get ready for summer vacation, we wanted to take a minute to boast here about the astounding successes of our leading youth program, MiniActive Youth. We’ve reported about them here and here in the past, but it’s always worth an additional mention.

Working in Jebel Mukaber

MiniActive Youth at work in Jebel Mukaber

One of MiniActive Youth’s important achievements over the last year has been the transformation of a bus stop behind the A-Sala’ah School for Boys in Jebel Mukaber. This was no regular bus stop. It was and still is the main place that hundreds of school children were dropped off before school, and waited after school. Before the youth began work, it was dark and dingy, and areas next to it were filled with junk and garbage. After months of contact and follow-up, we engaged the municipality to help clean up the ad-hoc garbage dump. But the youth did most of the work.

They recently made a movie about the whole process. Enjoy! We certainly did.

 

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation and other donors for their continued support of MiniActive.

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MiniActive – Story of a Corner Garbage Dump in A-Tur 2017

This is the story that has a happy ending, thanks to the involvement of MiniActive and local residents.

This is what the kids saw at the entrance to their kindergarten

This is what the kids saw at the entrance to their kindergarten

A new kindergarten director noticed a severe sanitation problem, basically right outside her door. There was an area that was not only filled to overflowing with household garbage, there was quite a bit of construction waste there too. In addition, the supporting wall to the kindergarten, which is adjacent to this ‘corner garbage dump,’ is in danger of collapsing, due to the garbage and construction nearby that dug beneath the wall.

 

Discussing how to improve A-Tur together

Discussing how to improve A-Tur together

Whose responsibility was it to clean this situation up? That’s a good question – City sanitation is definitely the Municipality’s job. But are they responsible for the construction waste, when it was there because of private construction? What about the supporting wall of the kindergarten, which is rented from a private owner by the Municipality?

 

Working together to make A-Tur cleaner

Working together to make A-Tur cleaner

MiniActive, the residents and the Municipality discussed these issues back and forth over a full month. On October 31, the municipal director for sanitation in East Jerusalem toured the area with residents in A-Tur. They came to an agreement of who will do what:

  1. The residents would properly dispose of the construction waste and repave the area.
  2. The Municipality agreed to sweep the streets regularly and to empty the garbage receptacle every two days.
  3. The residents, together with the kindergarten landlord, will collect money to re-build the faulty wall.
  4. The residents also agreed to cordon off an area for garbage, so that it won’t spill out onto the street.
The 'after' picture - all cleaned up and re-paved

The ‘after’ picture – all cleaned up and re-paved

Congratulations A-Tur! We’ll keep you posted on further developments.

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its continuing support of the MiniActive project.

Here’s the ‘before’ situation, as picked up by the 0202 Facebook page:

Here’s the final product in English, from the 0202 Facebook page:

And here’s the original post in Arabic:

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MiniActive – Celebrating a New Playground in Shuafat

It’s always nice to see the fruits of your labors.

Want to come and play in Shuafat?

Want to come and play in Shuafat?

It’s even more rewarding when these fruits have taken time in coming.

In the spring and summer of 2015, MiniActive women, especially from Shuafat and northern Jerusalem, were asked to take part in a process of public participation to plan a playground. On the one hand it was an incredibly sensitive time (things really hadn’t been the same since the Gaza war the previous summer); on the other hand, the dearth of playgrounds and open green spaces in East Jerusalem is such that this was an opportunity that couldn’t be missed.

We're sure it's pretty crowded in the afternoons

We’re sure it’s pretty crowded in the afternoons

This playground was one of several that were planned throughout Jerusalem, as part of a joint project with the Jerusalem Municipality and the Bloomberg Philanthropies. (You can read here about a similar playground that was planned and constructed in Gilo, and here about the earlier process.)

Not only playground, but grassy lawns as well

Not only playground, but grassy lawns as well

The Gilo playground was renewed in 2016. And many in Shuafat, had lost faith that the Municipality would actually install the playground as they discussed. But lo and behold, one bright summer’s day, our MiniActive women were walking in Shuafat and found this, which was installed this past summer. Here’s a video of the new playground:

 

Have fun!

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of the MiniActive project.

Here’s MiniActive’s Facebook posts about the discovery (in Arabic):

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2017-11-18T13:34:16+00:00 November 25th, 2017|Blog, Deliberative Democracy, Effective Activism, MiniActive, Palestinians/Arabs|

Working Together, Working Separately to Help Jerusalemites Live Safer, Live Longer

We wrote here about introducing the Living Safer, Living Longer program into the Haredi community in Jerusalem. But really, the program is not just in the Haredi sector, it’s being developed simultaneously in the Palestinian population, and in the ‘general’ (religious / secular Jewish) population. We’re especially excited about this new model for effective activism – each sector is focusing on preventive health / home safety, but each sector is developing, designing and refining the program to meet the specific needs of that community. All three sector share information and lessons learned, but the program is developing uniquely in each sector.  It is the community itself, through the volunteer Lead Teams – not the professionals – who are leading the way.

Volunteer Lead Team hearing about self breast exams from a nurse from the Bishvilech organization

Haredi Volunteer Lead Team hearing about breast self-exams from a nurse from the Bishvilech organization

We’re now getting down to business in all three sectors. There have been 5 meetings of the Haredi volunteer Lead Team, which chose to focus on preventive medicine. Thus far, they’ve learned about different issues affecting babies and toddlers, to youth, to women and seniors. Some of the lectures were given by nurses from the local well-baby clinic, and others from the Bishvilech organization, is the first and only woman to woman nonprofit organization in Israel focused on preventive medical care. (One of the lecturers was a female Haredi doctor, whose husband studies in Yeshiva, and who works at Sha’are Zedek hospital and volunteers with United Hatzalah emergency response organization. We thought she was really cool.) The team is currently in a learning stage, and are also considering learning about home safety as well. As the learning process progresses the team will come up with a checklist that will be used when going into people’s homes.

The West Jerusalem team (religious and secular Jews) has also had five meetings. They chose to focus on home safety, and learned about home safety for children from the Beterem organization, and learned about home safety for senior citizens from the Milbat organization. (They also tried out Milbat’s phone app for home safety for seniors.) They’ve already devised a checklist, and are in the process of revising and refining it. Members have even designed a logo (we’ll share it when it’s final), and are networking to bring in more participants into the program.

Introducing Living Safer, Living Longer to MiniActive women in East Jerusalem

Introducing Living Safer, Living Longer to MiniActive women in East Jerusalem

And on November 8, we held the first meeting of one of two Arab East Jerusalem teams. This 20-woman team is from the MiniActive program, one of East Jerusalem’s largest networks of volunteers, which has been working since 2012 to improve infrastructure in East Jerusalem. In this introductory session we presented the program, its importance and its principles. Right now they’re also focusing on home safety, and the next meeting next week will feature a lecturer from the Beterem organization, who will talk about home safety and children. Until then, the women were asked to photograph a place in or around their homes and ask themselves if this area really is safe for children. How would you do in such as test?

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MiniActive – Teaching First Aid for Teachers and for the General Public

As in the past, this year MiniActive is again offering a range of courses to help participants as mothers, and to grow as people.

Teaching critical first aid to educators

Teaching critical first aid to educators

Last week, on October 17, 20 teachers and teachers’ aides began a 44-hour advanced first aid course, designed only for educators. This course will be approved and its graduates will be qualified by the Ministry of Education, and it will run until December.

Learning the basics of CPR

Learning the basics of CPR

This is the second such course that MiniActive has offered over the past few months.

Learning First Aid to help their families

Learning First Aid to help their families

In August they held a short, 22-hour introductory course, for 35 Palestinian women from all over East Jerusalem.

Different aspects of urgent first aid care

Different aspects of urgent first aid care

The course consisted of 5, 4 – 4 1/2 – hour meetings. This was one of the first activities held at MiniActive’s new offices in Sheikh Jarrach.

Learning CPR

Learning CPR

All came out of the first meeting enthusiastic for the rest.

Measuring blood pressure, pulse

Measuring blood pressure, pulse

Here’s a Facebook post from the MiniActive Facebook page at the beginning of the 44-hour course:

And at the beginning of the shorter course in August:

And here’s a Facebook post from the end of the August course:

 

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of the MiniActive program!

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MiniActive – Opening Our Own Offices in East Jerusalem

After 5 full years of fantastic activity, engaging over 1,000 Palestinian women and teenage girls in East Jerusalem, and affecting tens of thousands of Palestinian residents throughout East Jerusalem, MiniActive finally has offices of its own. At the beginning of August, MiniActive began renting its own suite of offices in Sheikh Jarrach.

Welcome to MiniActive's new offices

Welcome to MiniActive’s new offices

MiniActive will continue to operate under the auspices of the JICC. But from now on, the new offices will be the epicenter of MiniActive activity in East Jerusalem.

One of the activities rooms, painted and decorated by MiniActive Youth

One of the activities rooms, painted and decorated by MiniActive Youth

The new space features an office and two larger classrooms –

"Intisar, Program Director," one of the many housewarming presents

“Intisar, Program Director,” one of the many housewarming presents

One that holds about 30 people (above), and one that holds about 40 people (below).

Learning first aid

Learning first aid

Upstairs is the studio (that includes showers and changing rooms) where Zumba and other exercise classes take place that MiniActive uses separately.

Zumba to improve health

Zumba to improve health

The new location is a big plus on all counts. It’s much more centrally located and easier to get to than other locations that activities have been held in. Its rooms are always available, as opposed to needing to work around other centers’ activity schedules. Its setup facilitates more order – more orderly registration, more orderly organizing of classes, more orderly documentation of requests, complaints and campaigns. More order, more professionalism, and we hope, even more success!

More housewarming presents, in green

More housewarming presents, in green

We wish MiniActive and all its participants a wonderful and fruitful year!

And of course, many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its ongoing support of MiniActive.

 

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MiniActive – Day Trip to Haifa and Acre

We’ve mentioned here and here how we like to show our MiniActive volunteers how much we appreciate their hard work and tenacity. On August 27, we did it again.

Enjoying a beautiful August day

Enjoying a beautiful August day

This time, the bus traveled north to Haifa, visiting the Baha’i Gardens,

The Baha'i Gardens, from the top of the hill

The Baha’i Gardens, from the top of the hill

and to Acre.

Acco meets the sea

Acre meets the sea

They also enjoyed a boat ride

Enjoying the water

Enjoying the water

Here’s the Facebook post, in Arabic:

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for its continued support of MiniActive!

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MiniActive Youth – Kicking Off the Year

Even before school starts up again, MiniActive Youth is off to a running start. There are several groups – some are just beginning and receiving introductions to the program. They are also learning about the environment and about recycling.

Receiving an initial introduction

Receiving an initial introduction

There were about 20 – 25 girls in this group. This year, we expect to have such a group meeting every day. (That means some 100 teenage girls!)

Here’s the Facebook post (in Arabic) of the first meeting:

In the second meeting, they continued talking about what kinds of projects they’ll be doing, about leadership, and about other aspects of the program.

Beginning to get down to business

Beginning to get down to business

Here’s the MiniActive Facebook post (also in Arabic) of the second meeting.

A third group worked outside a school in Jebel Mukaber.

Working in Jebel Mukaber

Working in Jebel Mukaber

Next to the school there is a station for school buses, that looked awful.

The bus stop, before

The bus stop, before

Next to it was a (another) makeshift garbage dump.

Do we want this next to our schools?

Do we want this next to our schools?

The girls worked every day for a week in mid-August,

Making the bus stop a nicer place to be

Making the bus stop a nicer place to be

to make the school bus stop look like this.

Much better

Much better

What an amazing difference!

The fence was painted too!

The fence was painted too!

At the same time, MiniActive women have been working since April to try and take care of that garbage next to the school. Finally, their efforts paid off, and this too was cleared away.

Finally! Much better.

Finally! Much better.

Here’s the Facebook post documenting the painting project:

 

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of the MiniActive project.

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MiniActive – A Tale of Two (Former Makeshift) Garbage Dumps

They were smelly times, and they were actually quite dangerous times. Garbage overflowed in huge garbage receptacles and in empty lots throughout East Jerusalem, but they were rarely emptied.  Garbage kept piling up, especially in Kufr Aqeb, and it became a public health hazard. Sometimes, residents burned the trash, just to get rid of it. But that, too, was a public safety and health hazard.

A really horrible sight

A really horrible sight

Until one day, after MiniActive’s almost 2-year ‘We Won’t Live in Filth!‘ campaign, municipal trucks came and emptied the receptacle. And many were happy – for a minute.

 

Until they saw what the garbage trucks had left behind…….A whole lot of garbage, probably enough to fill another truck. And then it became a public health AND safety hazard, as residents started to burn the garbage in an attempt to get rid of it.

 

We called the attention of this ugly sight to city council members and a deputy mayor through the 0202-A View from East Jerusalem Facebook page, and they promised to take care of it. Indeed, a few days later, it was cleared up. Here’s the tractor that was brought in:

Tractors worked hard to clean up

Tractors worked hard to clean up

Congratulations MiniActive! Good job 0202! Here’s the post from the 0202 English page summing up the incident:

 

And in a second achievement, another public health hazard was cleared away this past week in Wadi Joz, also the result of both MiniActive’s campaign. Our director, Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir, told the back story in a Facebook post:

Some time 20 years ago, someone did work with large sewer pipes in Wadi Joz in East Jerusalem. It might have been the East Jerusalem Development Corporation, it might have been the Gichon (or what was before the Gichon, can’t remember exactly when the Gichon was formed). The contractor, who did the public works, just left broken or extra pipes, each of them 2 meters in diameter, in an empty field, and left, together with more building waste from work that had been done. There was no oversight on him.

An empty field with building waste is a great way to attract more building waste, or just plain waste, isn’t it kind of like a garbage can? And in this way, the situation in this field kept getting worse and worse, and the field became a serious safety and health hazard.

Three years ago, some residents had had enough and began to ask that the field be cleaned up. It’s private land, but there’s no doubt that most of the waste was left there from public works. At one point, our MiniActive volunteers in the area took it upon themselves to get the field cleaned up. They turned to the Gichon, who were very polite and explained that it wasn’t them, it was the East Jerusalem Development Corporation. The East Jerusalem Development Corporation said that they have no records from 20 years ago….After the MiniActive volunteers met with everyone, they sat down and wrote a letter to the Jerusalem Municipality, which said something to the effect of, “Look – we weren’t able to find out who’s directly responsible, but at the end of the day it’s Jerusalem – please take responsibility as the Municipality. Research, examine, demand – whatever you think fit – the main thing is that this hazard – which is also a serious safety hazard – is taken care of.”

The Municipality – from the regional cluster director to the Director General’s office – worked very hard to find solutions. And on July 12, there suddenly appeared heavy equipment that came to take the building waste away.

The area, after cleanup

The area, after cleanup

Hats off to MiniActive for another impressive achievement! Hats off to the Jerusalem Municipality for taking responsibility. Here’s a video of the newly-cleaned area:

 

Here’s Hagai’s Facebook post (in Hebrew):

 

And here’s the explanation of the event that was posted on 0202-A View from East Jerusalem:

 

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of the MiniActive network.

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2017-07-30T12:26:59+00:00 July 15th, 2017|Blog, Effective Activism, MiniActive, Palestinians/Arabs|

MiniActive Women Leading Ramadan Food Drive

MiniActive never stops. Not even for the month-long Ramadan holiday. During this time, which commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad, many Muslims fast during the day and eat before dawn and after sunset. It is considered a festive month, so although Muslims do not eat during the day, much time, effort and food are invested in preparing the nightly evening meals, (or Iftar).

Food ready to be divided up

Food ready to be divided up as part of a MiniActive food distribution project

Given the severe socio-economic standing of most Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem – some 80% live beneath the poverty line – the month of Ramadan can often be a difficult financial burden. In response to this difficulty, the MiniActive network ran a Ramadan food drive for 100 needy families during the first week of June. MiniActive women not only led the drive, they were the ones who donated and collected the foodstuffs. Afterward, the MiniActive staff prepared and distributed the packages.

Baked goods waiting to be distributed

Baked goods waiting to be distributed

Foodstuffs were distributed through baskets and re-usable shopping bags. Packages included staples such as flour, salt, sugar, rice and oil and pasta, canned goods as well as other goodies, that will make their Iftar meals festive occasions.

Food packages ready to go

Food packages ready to go

Ramadan Kareem!

Here’s 0202’s English translation of the original Facebook post:

And here’s the original Facebook post in Arabic:

Many thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation for their continued support of the MiniActive project!

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