Dabbagh Welfare Trust and GSC partner in Um al-Khair
The direct investment from Dabbagh Welfare Trust was a crucial source of funding that enabled the Good Shepherd Collective to help facilitate the continuation of schooling and child development programs, but also helped to mitigate the impact of the spread of Covid-19 in Khirbet Um al-Khair.
Unlike many other small communities, Um al-Khair is unique in that a large portion of their village income comes from the tourism sector. Previously, international groups provided income for roughly a dozen members of the community. With this revenue stream severely restricted because of health and safety protocols, the Dabbagh Welfare Trust’s funding provided the investment that the community simply could not have afforded otherwise.
With the help of the local community, we fully equipped two facilities with new desks and chairs to accommodate nearly 70 children from the community. The funds also allowed for the refurbishment of an old school bus that ultimately transitioned into another teaching area. Repurposing the bus required installing flooring, insulation, doors, windows, and connection to the solar-generated electrical grid in Um al-Khair. The monies also went to weatherize the second building, insulating the roof and sealing the window and doors.These facilities can now be used year-round.
In addition to the revitalization ensuring uninterrupted schooling and developmental programs organized through the community center and school facilities, these centers also served as a community space to educate and develop community members to combat the spread of Covid-19, store personal protection equipment and sanitization supplies, such as masks, alcohol cleaners, and other crucial items. This facility also served as a space to check for Covid-19 symptoms before entering into the community while keeping vulnerable families less exposed.
“This project was very important for our children to continue their education and to ensure that the community has a central organizing space,” said Aziz Hathaleen, community elder of Um al-Khair. “Dabbagh Welfare Trust’s donation was very important to health and safety in Um al-Khair.”