One hundred and twenty women are engaged in the preparation and distribution of hot meals for vulnerable families living in Ein el Hilweh camp (Saida) and Beddawi camp (Tripoli) under “Empowering Women And Addressing Food Insecurity Through Women-Led Community Kitchens Project.”. The project is implemented by INITIATE in partnership with Women Program Association (WPA), with support from UN Women, funded by the Government of Japan. These 120 are employed in community kitchens, earning income to meet their basic needs, as they produce and deliver meals, also raising awareness on how families can prepare nutritious meals on a budget. So far, these women have produced and delivered over 7,440 meals to over 70 families.
In Ein el Hilweh, South Lebanon, Mirna Miari, Rania Hamied, Walaa Abed Al Aziz, Mariam Nabulsi and Ayah Abed Al Hadi, are five Palestinian women working with the local community kitchen. They joined the project for the purpose of serving their community and providing the needed support for their families in those harsh days.
Mirna says, “Through this opportunity, I got to know my community more. We are not just providing hot meals and awareness. Through our home visits, we are listening to the people’s problems, and trying to unburden them and draw a smile on their faces. We are trying to create a safe space for us and for them in our community”.
Rania adds, “Having the chance to be there for others is something I will always be proud of. I have a better understanding of the community’s struggles and economic difficulties. Through our intervention we are attempting to support and spread positivity and optimism to everyone around the camp”
Walaa and Mariam both agree that this job opportunity is changing them to the better, they have gained a sense of social responsibility, they have become more confident. Walaa says: “We becoming closer to the community and we have a better understanding of the needs”. While Mariam added: “I would like to highlight on the core of this project from women to women. We are helping other women in the community. This is the reason motivating us to come every morning, to cook with passion, and perform a perfect job”.
Aya sums up by saying: “People need us, and we need to be there for them. If everyone of us can contribute in the greatest way he or she is able to, then everything will improve. Being a part of such a lovely effort shows that, despite the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in, we are ready to make a difference in the world and do everything in our power to assist and support those who are in need.”
WPA is an association that enhances the capabilities of women through activities, lectures and seminars, encourages women to develop and develop their society, and implements projects that promote sustainable development and help serve the community. INITIATE, works to empower local communities and to enable its members to uphold their rights and to build a better future for them. And while keeping youth at the focus of its mission, INITIATE continually endeavors in creating comprehensive and inclusive programs aimed toward the Empowerment of youth, and its concentric circles of influence. The project is funded by UN Women with the generous support from the Government of Japan.