Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, was struck by a powerful earthquake on January 12 2010. More than 100,000 people were killed in the January earthquake, and over a million were left homeless. Initial emergency aid focused on rescuing survivors, and on immediate response to the population's acute needs, such as medical treatment, food, water and shelter.
The IsraAID - Tevel b'Tzedek delegation began its work one month after the quake, during the second phase of aid. Understanding that this stage requires response to a broader range of needs, the delegation emphasized psycho-social coping, education and community empowerment as its focal points. Relief work focused on providing immediate psycho-social aid in three camps in Port au Prince, while working on the educational & community levels. This period was also an opportunity for the organization to study the complex circumstances in post earthquake Haiti, and match appropriate models and methods to the local culture.
During july 2010 our activity expanded, and we started working in the rural areas of Leogane, were the earthquake struck the hardest. 30,000 were killed by the quake in the Leogane area, and 80% of the buildings destroyed.
As of now, our team works in three villages in the Leogan district, implementing community development techniques. Our projects include women & youth groups and informal education in each of the villages.
Additionally, a community medical clinic has been opened in the city Of Leogane, in cooperation with Tel Hashomer hospital Center for travel Medicine and Tropical Diseases. The clinic provides basic medical care to residents of Leogane and surrounding villages, and was established with the aim of making medical treatment accessible to communities were it was formerly unavailable. Besides working in the stationary clinic, the medical team plans to open a mobile clinic that will operate in the villages, and to implement educational programs on issues of health and hygiene.
Our efforts in Haiti are fully supported and funded by IsraAID, the Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid, which is a coordinating body of Israeli and Jewish organizations operating in the developing world, among them Tevel b'Tzedek.
More information follows.
It is TbT's ultimate ambition to nurture and develop the spark of idealistic energy ignited in our volunteers during their months spent studying and volunteering in Nepal an Haiti, and upon their return to create a network of social environmental activists here in Israel.
TbT is dedicated to continuous activism in Israel, and in Israel's name. For this purpose TbT encourages graduates to join the ever growing alumni community in Israel, and continue to study the complicated reality we live in. TbT provides graduates' social projects and initiatives with guidance, organizational support and scholarships, thereby encouraging them to fulfill their vision of a better, more just, society.
Over the last two years, our graduates have returned to Israel with a broad vision of social justice in the global context, and have created social projects which implement social and environmental justice in Israel, while keeping in mind cultural sensitivities.
Our alumni projects are described below.
What do we do? Integrated Community Development
Integrated community development is an approach to working with rural villages and other impoverished communities which is based on the idea that transforming the life of a community for the better means working in several different dimensions at once. Tevel b’Tzedek thus works in the following fields simultaneously: Agriculture, women’s empowerment, youth and education, and health and sanitation.
1) Agriculture: Boosting food production is the most effective and sustainable way of helping a rural community. Boosting food production prevents migration to urban slums and human trafficking, and also improves nutrition and creates income that can be used for education and health care for the whole family. Currently we are working with some 300 small farmers in 4 communities. In the agricultural component of our projects we work by:
a) Creating, together with a local organizations, demonstration farms and agricultural learning centers in close proximity to the villages’ farmland.
b) Staffing the demonstration farms with full-time local agricultural experts.
c) Creating irrigation solutions that allow the planting of crops during the dry season.
d) Introducing new winter vegetable and fruit crops
e) Introducing simple and inexpensive nursery and greenhouse techniques, and provide support for farmers wishing to adapt these techniques.
f) Teaching organic methods of fertilizer and pesticide production, and subsidize improvements to animal sheds that allow for the effective collection of manure and urine for this purpose.
g) Holding workshops in crucial topics such as soil and pest management.
h) Creating farmers’ groups to mobilize villagers in adapting new technologies and practices.
2) Women’s Empowerment: Throughout the developing world, working with women’s groups has been found to be a significant method of catalyzing change on the community level. Tevel b’Tzedek works with women’s groups in all of the villages and communities in which we are active (currently 230 women are regular participants in our women’s groups, and we have funded literacy training for more than 400 women), in order to achieve the following goals:
a) Encouraging self expression and self confidence.
b) The building of community and of trust in the support offered by peer groups.
c) Education on health and sanitation, women's rights, human rights, family violence, and alcoholism.
d) Literacy and numeracy—Tevel b'Tzedek sponsors daily classes.
e) Micro-credit and cooperative training for income generation.
3) Youth and Education: Children and youth, our hope for the future, can also play a decisive role in creating change in their home communities today. TbT works intensively with children and youth in all the communities in which we are active (more than 200 youths and 150 children are part of our groups) in the following ways:
a) Building a youth movement (participants aged 15-25) that integrates informal education, leadership training and social activism on a community level.
b) Creating child clubs (participants aged 7-15) for informal education and involving youth as counselors and informal educators for their younger peers.
c) Training youth in the use of theater as a tool for self expression and the raising and exploration of social issues.
d) Bringing youth from different villages and ethnic groups into contact with each other through shared seminars.
e) Involving youth in disseminating new agricultural techniques to their home communities.
f) Creating special groups for adolescent girls in order to allow free discussion and education on issues of sex and women's health.
a) Creating and operating a day care center for 25 toddlers age 1-4 from impoverished families in Kathmandu's Kalimati area. The mothers of these children work as domestic servants or as vegetable vendors and their fathers mostly work as porters.
b) Doing teacher training in methodology, English and computers for teachers from 6 different public schools and 60 teachers in Kathmandu and rural villages.
c) Supporting tuition for children from impoverished families.
d) Providing food for 200 working children in public school in Kathmandu every school day for the past 3 years.
4) Health and Sanitation: Health, hygiene and sanitation are key to improving the lives of rural villagers and urban slum dwellers. TbT's emphasis is on public health through sanitation and education. We work by:
a) Helping communities to build toilets. TbT initiates biogas toilet projects that provide cooking gas directly to village kitchens, as well as simple toilets for sanitation; so far we have organized and funded more than 130 toilets.
b) Training teachers, youth, and women in health education. Spreading awareness about subjects such as parasites and worms, AIDs, nutrition, prolapsed uterus, and other common health problems can significantly help communities and individuals.
c) Providing health camps. Our new partnership with Dhulikel Hospital (www.dhulikelhospital.org) and their community outreach program will bring doctors and nurses to our communities on a regular basis for dental, gynecological and other undertreated medical problems.
Tevel b'tzedek contributes to the aid efforts in Haiti our skills in holistic communal development. Utilizing our rich experience gained in Nepal, we aim to combine between the fields of education, heath, agriculture and financial empowerment in our work.
Our Goals: To support Haitian communities in their struggle to rehabilitate the country following the damage caused by the earthquake, as well as in their ongoing struggle for basic human rights and against poverty. To participate in the crucial social dilemmas human society experiences when facing crisis, with the purpose of achieving an egalitarian society that honors all its members, regardless of religion, race and sex. To create a meaningful personal and social partnership with the people of the communities with whom we work and live, and learn, through acquaintance with them about ourselves and about different ways of coping with and overcoming injustice in the world.
Together we can influence our close circle, the local community and in essence — the international community.
Environmental Education Center in the Galilee: Sustainable Galilee
"Sustainable Galilee" is a social environmental center jointly administered by Tevel b’Tzedek and Klil. The center is located on 1.75 acres in the heart of Klil, a settlement in the Western Galilee.
"Sustainable Galilee" began as a nursery for the rehabilitation and preservation of the indigenous Mediterranean natural habitat. Over the years, the nursery developed into a center serving as a model for sustainability. Volunteer alumni of Tevel b’Tzedek developed programs for "Sustainable Galilee" constructed around environmental education, practical ecology, and social responsibility. "Sustainable Galilee" has residential facilities for volunteers who stay on site, a “Give and Take” center and communal recycling, an organic vegetable garden, planting for the rehabilitation of the natural habitat, a nursery for indigenous Israeli plants and ornamentals, systems for water and household waste recycling, a site for hosting groups and holding workshops, a magical view of the Galil, and much more.
Moreover, "Sustainable Galilee" acts as a greenhouse for sustainability entrepreneurship, nurturing projects together with populations living outside of Klil.
The Caregivers Union: Work in the foreign workers communities in Israel
The Caregivers Union is an association specific to homecare workers, operating under the umbrella of “Koach La’Ovdim – Democratic Workers Organization.” The goal is to better the situation and improve the working conditions of over 60,000 foreign workers, most of them women, who work in Israel as homecare workers.
The union operates on the belief that adopting the principles of unionized labor allows both male and female workers, from different communities and nationalities, to come together as one group and demonstrate their numerical strength, in order to take the initiative and act independently to solve the common hardships that effect all homecare workers, and to fight together for their rights as members of the Israeli work force.
Read more in our website