In the 2012 holiday season, we asked donors to provide one Palestinian refugee with three months of work through UNRWA’s Job Creation Program. For a $500.00 donation, UNRWA was able to hire one Palestinian refugee to assist West Bank farmers whose land had been attacked by settlers. Together we were able to provide 24 refugees with valuable work and job-training.
Workers in the program:
- cleared land on both sides of the separation-wall;
- trimmed trees burned by settlers;
- rehabilitate buildings and greenhouses;
- reconnected water networks;
- dug wells and cisterns;
- establish agricultural path and multi-purpose roads to access fields located near the separation-wall.
Workers also planted new trees to replace those destroyed by settlers, helping Palestinian farmers safeguard their livelihoods all while gaining valuable training that will give the workers a competitive edge in a highly competitive labor market. To show our appreciation to donors who contributed $500.00 towards hiring a refugee, one of the olive trees was planted in his or her honor.
The UN estimated that around 7,500 olive trees were damaged, burned, cut down, or destroyed by Israeli settlers in 2012. These trees, many of them centuries old, are not easily mended or replaced, but AFU's Olive Tree Initiative aims to give Palestinians the tools and resources needed to rehabilitate impacted olive groves.