Abna al-Quds Community Center

Abna Al Quds Programming2

 Abna al-Quds Community Center

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.

Response: The Abna al-Quds Community Center is spread over 1.25 acres with a soccer field and a basketball court, a community garden, a computer center, and activity rooms. 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. We seek support for 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 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. Ongoing activities at the garden 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.

Population served: Over 1,200 Arab children, youth, adults & seniors take part in the Center’s annual programming, and it serves the Muslim Quarter’s 30,000 residents.

Impact: “In the past I stayed home and didn’t really go out. Today I come to the Center, I have friends, there are people here I trust, I learned a lot about myself and others thanks to the program. I know that this place saved my life, because I look at my life today with more optimism.” – N., age 16, from young women’s empowerment program.

“This is a second home for me and the students…Their playgrounds, their sports fields, their garden, has become our own.” – Principal, Sakikini School for Girls.

Partners: The Jerusalem Municipality