Al-Bayyara (the orchard)

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Al Bayyara the orchard2

Al-Bayyara (the orchard)

Category:Uncategorized

Al-Bayyara Project

Childhood is a fundamental stage that defines the future transition of children into adulthood. As such, children should be provided with the needed care and education to enhance their mental, psychological and social development. Much of this knowledge development is gained through play.

In Palestine, there are limited areas for safe outdoor playing for children to spend their energy, interact with each other and be creative through play. Most Palestinian children spend their spare time playing in the streets, amongst passing vehicles, exposing themselves and others to high risk and danger of accidents and injuries. On the other hand, children who are restricted from playing outside become passive and unsociable, spending hours in non-interactive activities, such as watching TV or playing digital games, which are equally associated with health hazards including obesity, addiction, laziness, slower development, etc.

Outdoor playgrounds offer families and their children safe public spaces to meet, socialize and spend quality time. Moreover, public spaces require community ownership and involvement to prosper and this can contribute positively to enriching the local environment.

As a means to address this dire need, WA with the Bank of Palestine and the Basem and Muna Hishmeh Foundation launched and financed “Al-Bayyara project” since 2013 to date to establish children ‘s playgrounds in urban and rural neighborhoods to serve as recreational communal spaces for children and their families. So far, 19 playgrounds have been established and 9 are under construction, established in partnership with local municipalities/village councils.

The successful implementation of these playgrounds and their impact on the children, their families (specifically their mothers) and the community at large, motivated WA and its partners to seek additional funding to scale up their efforts to implement 10 new playgrounds annually. WA hopes that this simple intervention will be replicated at the national level in urban neighborhoods, towns, and villages, and championed by other development organizations to restore to Palestinian children their right to play safely.

Al-Bayyara: the orchard

“Al-Bayyara” is the Arabic word for the orange orchard. In the late nineteenth century, historical Palestine witnessed a surge in citrus cultivation and orchards dominated the landscape from the north to the south. After 1948, orange orchards became a symbol of Palestinian history and identity, revered with nostalgia by the old and young alike. The playgrounds will be named “Al-Bayyara” to capture the image and value that these orchards hold in the Palestinian consciousness, as the playgrounds become the focal points in their communities.

Project Rationale

Playground games are what children strive for; for many, it is their favorite time of the day. It is well recognized that children develop much of their learning, cognitive and social skills through play and these are carried forward into their adulthood. Moreover, research shows that playgrounds are amongst the most important environments for children outside their home that enhances their imagination and creativity. Therefore, the importance of physical activity for children is widely recognized and has been the subject of public policy statements in many countries.

Furthermore, there is a general consensus that physical activity reduces the risk of psychological problems in children, fosters their self-esteem, self-care skills, encourages physical mastery and self-development, and stimulates problem-solving skills. Moreover, playgrounds provide a means to communicate with other children and adults leading to personality development and sense of connection.

In conclusion, the long-term impact of playgrounds on children is immense in terms of overall development, health, attitude, communication, interaction, and behavior. Equally, creating safe environments for children will also benefit the families and their children and will promote a sense of ownership that can help in preserving these playgrounds as a focal point for the local community.

The Goal

To establish community-based outdoor recreational playgrounds that are safe for children to play and can contribute to their physical, social and cognitive development.

Objectives

  • To create safe communal spaces for children to play and their families to enjoy;
  • To enhance children physical and mental development and social behavior through play;
  • To improve the local environment by reclaim neglected plots of land for the benefit of the local community;
  • To foster and build community interaction, ownership and participation.

Proposed Locations

Marginalized urban and rural neighborhoods in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip.

Selection Criteria for the Playgrounds

Al-Bayyara playgrounds are designed to meet the needs of children and their families, especially their mothers. They are designed to be safe, robust, can accommodate different age groups and maximize the use of the available spaces. Al-Bayyara utilizes simple designs and recycled materials were possible to minimize operational and maintenance cost.

                    A minimum area of 1000m2 is considered suitable for the plot of land to be developed into a playground so as to accommodate the following zoned activities:

  • Active play area fitted with fixed equipment such as swings, slides, seesaws, climbers, as wells as fixtures that allow climbing, jumping, balancing and hanging;
  • Free play area of open space, paved or sand covered for running, informal ball games, cartwheels, somersaults and rolling;
  • Quiet area surrounded by trees and shrubs and fitted with benches and shaded areas to allow families and groups of children to socialize and observe the activities around them in comfort.  

In addition, Al-Bayyara site selection and implementation shall meet the following fundamental additional criteria:

  • Location: The playground shall be centrally located in residential neighborhoods. It shall be safely accessible on foot by children and away from main roads and dangerous intersections. Pedestrian crossing and other warning signs shall be fitted to warn drivers and pedestrians of the location of the playground and to give priority for children were relevant and safe.
  • Ownership: The playground site should be owned collectively by the community and the local municipality/ village council so that entry to the playground will be free of charge. The project will encourage the election of a local committee to follow up on the operation and maintenance of the playground but other means can be negotiated if deemed plausible and supported by the community.
  • Safety: The playground will be fenced completely and fitted with gates to control children mobility and keep them safe. All equipment shall be certified to ensure they conform to international standards and all measures shall be taken to reduce the risk of injuries through equipment design and floor treatment without compromising children fun and play.
  • Sanitation:  Maintaining a high level of cleanliness and hygiene is not only vital for children’s well-being but will encourage them to follow suit and keep their playground clean and safe. It is this communal ownership that will rally children and families alike to maintain and preserve these playgrounds in good condition and invest in them in the long-term.

Methodology

For the successful selection, implementation and future sustainability of Al-Bayyara, the project team engages directly with the municipality/village council as partners in the whole process to promote ownership and interest in operating and maintaining the playground once completed. The municipality/village council is expected to:

  • Provide a suitable plot of land that meets the selection criteria set by WA;
  • Be actively involved in the design of the playground and its construction;
  • Provide connection to power supply and water supply for playground use;
  • Follow-ups on the operation and maintenance of the playground;
  • Setup a local committee to ensure community engagement in preserving and maintaining the playground for the welfare of the children. 

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Testimonials

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

تحية طيبة وبعد ؛

أنا الطالبة مرام حامد أتقدم بجزيل الشكر و الامتنان لجمعيتكم على تقديمها العون لي وتسديد جزء من أقساطي الجامعية ، و أشكر أيضاً كل الأطراف و الجهات التي تساهم في دعم هذه الجمعية، لتكون عوناً لكثير من الطلاب و تساعدهم على تحمل أعباءهم الجامعية ، راجيةً من الله أن تكون لهم في ميزان حسناتهم الجارية و الله في عون العبد ما دام العبد في عون أخيه.
حيث انكم من خلال ذلك تساعدون الكثير من الطلاب لإكمال دراستهم و علمهم،
العلم الذي يعتبر سلاحنا الوحيد في هذه البلد و في هذه الظروف ؛ لنستطيع العيش و التغلب على أوضاعنا المأساوية من احتلال و أوضاع اقتصادية صعبة و غلاء معيشة و ارتفاع الأسعار وأهم من ذلك ارتفاع أسعار الساعات الجامعية.

و قد أنهيت الثانوية بمعدل 95.4 ، و الآن أنا طالبة في جامعة بيرزيت سنة ثانية، تخصص دكتور صيدلي و سعر الساعة لهذا التخصص 80 دينار أردني و هي من أغلى الساعات في الجامعة و مقارنةً بالجامعات الأخرى فهي تعادل سعر ساعة الطب البشري ، حيث أن قسط الفصل الواحد يزيد على 1400 دينار بالإضافة الى رسوم التسجيل الجامعي.
أنتمي لعائلة مكونة من 8 أفراد و أبي هو المعيل الوحيد لنا و هو يعمل موظف بإحدى الشركات براتب متوسط لا يكفي لإعالة العائلة و دفع الأقساط الجامعية معاً.

و أنا و غيري في هذه الجامعة نعاني في بداية كل فصل من عدم السماح لنا بالتسجيل حتى نقوم بدفع القسط كامل، و لا يتم فتح باب التقسيط إلا بعد مرور فترة من بداية الفصل و هكذا لا نستطيع التسجيل في الشعب المرغوبة حيث تكون قد امتلأت .

أتمنى من هذه الجمعية الاستمرار في دعم الطلاب قدر المستطاع ؛ و أن تقوم بزيادة قيمة المساعدة المقدمة لكل طالب و ذلك بالاعتماد على قيمة القسط المدفوع ،حيث أنها في بعض الأحيان تقوم بتغطية ما يزيد على 50% من قيمة القسط لبعض الطلاب ،لكنها في نفس الوقت لا تشكل سوى جزء بسيط من أقساط الآخرين , فعلى سبيل المثال فهي لا تغطي سوى 24% من قيمة القسط الذي أدفعه أنا في كل فصل .
و في نهاية رسالتي أقدم لكم مجدداً كل الشكر و الامتنان ،متمنيةً لكم كل الخير و الأمان
و مزيداً من دعم الطلاب .

Ladies and Gentlemen in United Holy Land Fund,

I'm Wassim Abdallah. I study in the Arab American University of Jenin - Palestine.
I study computer system engineering in my third year.

I have no words to tell you how much we feel happy and hopeful when you help us. People like you should be respected from everybody. I would like to thank you as a group of people who care and think about others.

I like the idea of your association, by your help you give us the power to continue and go on with our ambitions.

Me as a young man , I live in a big family we are eight. my father is an electrician he work all the day in order to give us the opportunity to study in university , actually many times I was thinking to leave university because of the fees of my studying which is so expensive . My father faced a very critical economic situation in his life, i'm number four who enter universities so we are talking about a big number of money.

which made his situation very bad. But by your support you give us and give me the support
and the first step to continue .

I would like to say that you don't just help me, you also teach me and give me lessons in life .
To think about others and helping them . this shows how kind and great you are !

I'm 21 years old and I feel that I have a great power inside me . I participate many social youth activities and I have my own talents I like music so much , I play on violin , oud( an Arabic instrument), and drum .

I sing in concerts , and in church in all celebrations . I lead our university coral from the first year in the university which consists of 30 students how sing and play instruments. I have been in a folklore dance group (Dabkah ) for six years . This year I started to train 20 kids and start to design my own dances .

I like to paint , I'm interested in face painting , I like to challenge my self that if anybody saw my drawings he would know the person .

I decided to tell you about myself in few words in order to know that you help people who deserve your help .

Finally, I send you all our love and respect from me and my family for your help and I pray to God to bless you all and bless your work and ask for having more people like you in this world .

With all my respect,
Wassim Abdallah

انا الدارسة عبير عمر عبدالحليم الديراوي أدرس في جامعة القدس المفتوحة-منطقة غزة التعليمية تخصص التربية الابتدائية اتقدم بجزيل الشكر للقائمين على الجمعية الخيرية للأراضي المقدسة (United Holly Land Fund) لمساعدتهم للدارسين في اكمال مسيرتهم التعليمية واخص بالذكر الجالية الفلسطينية الامريكية في نيويورك ، كما اتقدم بالشكر الجزيل لامام مؤسسة جامع (Bridgview) الشيخ جمال سعيد بالاضافة لامام جامع (ICCI) الشيخ سعيد كما اشكر الجالية الفلسطينية في ممفيس " Memmphis" وكل من ساهم في جمع التبرعات املا منكم استمرار هذه المساعدة لما لهذا العطاء من اثر ايجابي في نفسي ونفس زملائي المستفيدين.
اسم الدارس : عبير عمر عبدالحليم الديراوي