Heritage for Women
If there is someone that deserves our attention and unconditional support, it is women and girls in general, but more so in Occupied Palestine. And if there is someone that is being affected by the excessive use of violence by the Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers, it is women and girls in the impoverished villages of rural Palestine.
Lack of public safety and restrictions on mobility due to hundreds of checkpoints have had a negative impact on educational opportunities for schoolgirls and on women’s engagement in the labor force.
However, in spite the difficult circumstances in which they live and the exceptional hardships they face on daily basis, given the right opportunities, Palestinian women have, through hard work and creativity, demonstrated incredible ability to transform financial distress and destitution into unimagined opportunity. Riwaq’s experience has also demonstrated that given an opportunity, women use it imaginatively and wisely to engage and serve their entire community.
Waqfiyyet al Nisaء focuses on the empowerment of women and girls. It provides appropriate safe spaces in historic centers that allow women to implement their initiatives, whether it be a women’s cooperative for culinary services, a health centre, a nursery, or a crafts or cultural center.
Working closely with local women’s organizations in the 50 villages as well as with women leaders in their local communities, Riwaq has so far restored more than 60 historic buildings and courtyards for women’s associations and cooperatives at a reasonable cost of USD 70,000 each. Not only have these women’s centers become attractive workplaces, they are also spaces for social gatherings and social exchange. These women’s centers also enable women to contribute to the household income, thereby improving family living standards and education.
The Waqfiyyet al Nisaء (Heritage for Women Fund) with a capital of USD one million will generate an annual income of USD 50,000. This would enable Riwaq to restore one courtyard/building annually for the benefit of a local women’s initiative. Women’s associations and cooperatives in villages and towns will use these centers to strengthen their contribution to the local economy and socio-cultural life.