P R O J E C T S
On an FTW ride, you totally immerse yourself in the event. Our hosts set the itinerary to maximize our intake of culture, history and social conditions. There’s usually a lavish feast or two and sometimes a trip to the souk for souvenirs, but mostly there’s very little down time. The local people are so generous and hospitable that every woman yearns to GIVE BACK.
We reciprocate their generosity by returning to our communities and enlightening our friends, family and colleagues with slideshows, newspaper articles. The FTW motto is “Go. See. Tell. Act.” Yet and still there has been a yearning by FTW members to mature our actions into something concrete as well. All donations are tax deductible either through the international office’s British-registered charity or the USA Team’s incorporated not-for-profit fiscal sponsor.
In 2008 we went to the Palestinian refugee camp in AQBAT JABR, JERIHO. We witnessed the deteriorated state of the camp’s playground with virtually all equipment broken. A huge portion of the camp’s 7,000 residents are children. The British team resolved to get the kids a decent playground. Roughly $7,000 was needed just to repair the old slides and swings.
Not only were all the funds raised, but Elaine Morton, Detta Regan and Pippa Ochonski traveled to Jericho with a youth program to help re-build the playground and left their “signature,” a lovely mural of the FTW logo. It was exhilarating when Follow the Women visited Aqbat Jabr playground in 2009 and saw the real results.
The Aqbat Jabr playground was so successful that a second playground project was undertaken in AL RAM refugee camp. The city of Al Ram in the West Bank spans all the way to East Jerusalem with the two sides being separated by the security wall. This separation has lead to multiple problems for the town and it’s children which is why there is a desperate need for this playground. In 2009 we went to the Al Ram playground and we were truly giddy to see the children’s play site with new equipment.
Following the invasion of Gaza in 2009 and the devastation that this left, it was decided that Gaza was the area of greatest need and should be the location for our next playgrounds. This was a unanimous decision supported by the whole of the Follow The Women Global organization. So two playgrounds have now been completed, one in GAZA and one in KHAN YOUNIS. We worked again with our partners, Sharek Youth Forum, and local suppliers to ensure these playgrounds were built correctly and that we are supporting the local economy.
In September 2014, Follow The Women International sponsored a new playground project in JENIN in Palestine, joining forces with Follow The Women Denmark and The Danish House in Palestine to make this happen. Follow The Women Denmark, with additional support from the Islamic community, raised money selling food, held garage sales and collected personal donations from Nørrebro in Copenhagen. The Danish House in Palestine (DHIP) were involved in the project as a local governing unit with all the contacts at their disposal. They helped with the accounting, language translation and provided a helping hand in various different ways. In addition, a teacher from the deaf school in Qualqilya was directly involved in the project, together with carpenter apprentices at the school. The school had organized the purchase of wood, provided the necessary tools, and the deaf students worked on the wood to ensure it was ready for transportation to Jenin.
Hats off to the British team, particularly Pippa Ochonski and Elaine Morton, for conceiving the playground project in Palestinian refugee camps and for their dogged determination to achieve results. Special recognition must likewise go to the California team who raised a mighty $14,000 in funds for the FTW Playground Project just through word of mouth and letter writing.
FTW could not have succeeded in the Playground project without the help of a local Palestinian organization, Sharek Youth Forum run by youth and for youth, working to empower youth in Palestinian society.
MEDICAL KITS TO GAZA
During the Israeli invasion of Gaza (late December, 2008 to January 17, 2009) the Jordanian FTW team organized medical kits to be sent to Gaza. The Jordanian team worked incredibly long hours to put the kits together. They raised the money, bought the supplies, assembled them into medical packages and made sure they were safely delivered to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza during the conflict. They made sure that foreign instructions for usage of the medical supplies were translated into Arabic. We are proud of the Jordanian team’s magnificent effort.