Abna al-Quds Community Center Programming
Abna al-Quds Community Center
The Need: The Muslim Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, with 30,000 residents, is one of the most poverty-stricken areas of the city. With an average of six or more people living in each room, it is the most crowded quarter of the Old City. It is estimated that the poverty rate is far higher than the 77% estimated for the Arab sector in Jerusalem, and welfare and educational services are overburdened. Thousands of children attend poorly-equipped schools with insufficient classroom space and minimal welfare support. Less than 10% of all children aged 3-5 are registered in preschools; more than 20% of all teenagers drop out of high school.
In order to meet the vast needs of this community, the Abna al-Quds Community Center provides a wide range of enrichment activities for children, youth and adults and seniors throughout the year, reaching tens of thousands of residents each year. The center is thought of as a unique refuge in the neighborhood, an island of serenity and open spaces amongst intense crowding and poverty. As part of its mission to shape a modern and vibrant city by creating opportunities for all Jerusalem residents, the Jerusalem Foundation has been involved in Abna al-Quds for some time. For the past 8 years the Jerusalem Foundation, together with its friends and supporters from around the world, has been a strategic partner in helping Abna al-Quds become an independent community center. Aiming to provide opportunities for the city’s most vulnerable populations, we seek funding for a range of programs at Abna al-Quds.
Impact on Jerusalem: Located next to Herod’s Gate,Activities at the Abna Al-Quds Community Center serve all 30,000 Arab residents of the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Uncharacteristic of facilities in the Old City, the center is spread over 1.25 acres and includes a soccer field and a basketball court, a newly-completed community garden, a computer center, and activity rooms. Today it is open six days a week and offers education, enrichment, cultural, sports and social activities for women, elderly, children and youth, special needs populations and other residents. The Jerusalem Foundation seeks to support the following programs:
Parenting Center: The main component of the center is the mothers groups that meet weekly for a total of 24 meetings. The mothers groups consist of lectures and workshops on parenting and intra-family communication, personal empowerment workshops, individual consultation when necessary, adult education enrichment courses and activities. There are also activities for young children during the meetings, and for fathers and the rest of the family, so that the whole family can be enriched by this process.
Women's Empowerment Program: This program works with several groups of women. Before beginning, each woman is interviewed to determine her short and long-term goals for the program. It includes personal empowerment workshops; vocational training (according to each woman's personal plan); creation of comprehensive support networks to empower participants, such as community-based programming; long-term programs as well as one-off lectures and special events; sports activities; health programs, and parenting classes. It will include programs for their children, especially but not exclusively girls, to improve academic performance, enhance intra-family relations, better health and nutrition, strengthen peer relationships, and more.
Community Garden. The Jerusalem Foundation and the Jerusalem Development Authority recently finished the construction of the first community garden in the Old City. We are seeking funding for ongoing activities at the garden, which will include: community activities for children, teens, adults and senior citizens; educational activities for children and teens who come with their schools or as part of classes and courses to learn about nature and the environment; therapeutic activities, and courses to expand professional knowledge in the Arab sector.
In addition to the importance of working to improve the lives of Jerusalem’s Arab residents, working in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City has additional benefits. Because of its close proximity Muslim and Christian holy sites, residents of the Muslim Quarter are seen as kind of "guardians of the faith," and are placed on a pedestal by the Arab population of Jerusalem. Successful work with thousands of children, youth, adults and seniors, men and women, boys and girls, has a greater ripple effect on communities throughout Jerusalem and the entire region than other Arab neighborhoods.
Partners: Jerusalem Municipality
Parenting Center: NIS 140,000 per year
Women’s Empowerment Program: NIS 200,000 per year
Community Garden: NIS 100,000 per year