Abna al-Quds Community Center - Renovation

Abna Al Quds Physical

 

Abna al-Quds Community Center - Renovation

 

The Need: The Old City of Jerusalem is home to some of the holiest sites in the world. But in the shadow of these sites – away from the pilgrims and tourists – children and youth in the Muslim Quarter live in some of the poorest, most crowded conditions in all of Israel.

 

The Abna Al-Quds Community Center is located next to Herod’s Gate in the Old City.  Uncharacteristic of facilities in the Old City, it 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. The Jerusalem Foundation has been involved in Abna al-Quds for some time, as part of its mission to shape a modern and vibrant city by creating opportunities for all its population groups, especially its most vulnerable populations. For the past 8 years the Jerusalem Foundation has been a strategic partner in helping Abna al-Quds become an independent community center, as befits a facility that serves the Muslim Quarter's 30,000 people. Unfortunately, the physical facilities are far from adequate for the population it serves. Therefore the Jerusalem Foundation, together with the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Antiquities Authority have prepared a multi-stage plan to renovate the grounds of the Abna al-Quds Campus.

 

Impact on Jerusalem: Jerusalem's Old City is one of the most poverty-stricken pockets in Israel. With an average of six or more people living in each room, it is the most crowded quarter of the Old City. The poverty rate is far higher than the 77% estimated for the Arab sector in Jerusalem, and welfare and educational services are overburdened, with some 50% of all families in the Muslim Quarter recognized by the Jerusalem Municipality welfare office as in need of assistance. Thousands of children learn at inadequately equipped schools, with insufficient classroom space and minimal welfare support.

 

Abna al-Quds is thought of as a unique refuge in the neighborhood, an island of serenity and open spaces. Today, it is open six days a week and offers educational and cultural enrichment, sports and social activities for women, the elderly, youth, special needs populations and other residents. The Jerusalem Foundation is currently seeking funds for the short-term renovation of the complex, which will enable the community center to better serve the residents’ needs. The first stage will focus on the current grounds and facilities. Full planning has already been completed, and no additional building permits are required. With a time table for completion of 6 months, renovations will include:

  • Re-paved walkways
  • Shaded playground for young children, opposite the current playground.
  • Small garden adjacent to the playground for senior citizens and others, which will include tables, benches, shading and sitting corners.
  • Plants, flowers and sitting areas along the inside of the perimeter fence.
  • Upgrade of basketball court and its surrounding area: resurfacing of the court, re-paving of the stones surrounding the court and benches, new plants.
  • A piazza will be created in the courtyard between the existing buildings. This will include sitting areas, a water feature, a pergola above the square and plants.
  • Renewed lighting
  • New water fountains
  • More effective re-division of the inside spaces of existing buildings, according to the needs of the community.
  • Existing  indoor spaces will be painted and re-wired as needed. Lighting will be renewed, air conditioning  installed if necessary and new furnishings will be purchased.
  • Outsides of buildings will also be refurbished with Jerusalem stone.

 

Partners: Jerusalem Municipality; Jerusalem Development Authority; Israel Antiquities Authority

 

Funding Needed: NIS 7,500,000 for Stage 1