A divorcee woman, a mother of an eleven years old boy, at the age of 27 waiting for her father to give her allowance. That’s how Walaa describes her situation before joining to be one of the 120 women working in community kitchens to produce and distribute hot meals to food insecure households in Ein el Hilwe, Beddawi and Rashidieh Palestinian refugee camps. The project “Empowering Women And Addressing Food Insecurity Through Women-Led Community Kitchens” is implemented by Initiate and Women’s Program Association (WPA), supported by UN Women with the generous support of the Government of Japan.
The community kitchens established have delivered over 7,440 meals to over 70 families, in Ein el Hilwe and Bedawi., while providing income-generating jobs to women cooking meals for vulnerable families in the communities, and conducting outreach to families on how to cook nutritious meals on a budget.
Walaa says that her main intentions for joining the project was to support herself financially. “I was always alone, always at home and depressed”, she says “, my only child lives with his father and for weeks I couldn’t see him as I can’t afford to spend on him when he visits me”.
She felt more confident, and optimistic since the day she joined Beddawi kitchen team, “I feel that everything is better now, I can feel myself independent from my family and being able to spend on myself and my child”.
“The project took me out of the routine and the comfort zone, I am now trained on how to communicate with people, and meet new ones and feel myself doing something beneficial”, says Walaa.