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Each year, Pal Craftaid conducts an appeal to support ministries in Palestine that empower the lives of individuals through education, job training, healthcare for community life. Funds from this year's appeal will go to the YWCA in Palestine which operates on the principle: Keep Hope Alive. No organization is more dedicated to non-violence and to improving the lives of the Palestinian people than the YWCAs, which conduct programs in East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho. These programs empower women by teaching them to operate businesses, such as food production, to educating children in the refugee compounds, and to keeping their heritage alive by creating traditional embroidery products that represent the cultures of destroyed Palestinian villages. The YWCAs are deeply committed to upholding the human rights and dignity of each person. Take Hanan Ammash as an example. Hanan is 43-year-old and once lived in a one-room-home – without windows or doors -- in the Aqbet Jaber Refugee Camp with her husband and six children. She began attending the Women's Center at the refugee camp and met other women who share her reality – especially poor housing and lack of money. She began taking courses in food processing and financial management, as well as participating in sessions that deal with women's rights, lobbying and advocacy, project management and proposal writing. Since then, she been directing work at the Center kitchen that has produced pastries and healthy foods for the cafeteria of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools. Now, the kitchen has been converted into a food processing unit which caters events. She also operates her own pickled eggplant business and is registered with the Ministry of the Economy, which enables her to grow and expand production in the future. Hanan says herself: “I'm courageous now. I can talk in front of a big crowd. I feel productive now. In the past, I didn't feel distinguished. Now I do.” The outcomes for her life are astounding. Her home is repaired and she is planning an expansion. She paid for her daughter's college education – and now she is planning her daughter's wedding. What's more, she has applied to be the sweets and pastry trainer for another project. The YWCA considers Hanan one of its success stories, as she is a breadwinner for her family and a leader in the camp community. As you may imagine, keeping hope alive is a difficult goal. The effects of the occupation on East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza result in severe restrictions for the lives of ordinary Palestinians. Yet, most Palestinians continue to seek non-violent solutions to this tense situation. The YWCA focuses on the society, and, also offers sessions for families to work toward reconciliation at home. Please partner with us by contributing to our annual fundraising effort to support this good work. Tax-deductible contributions may be sent to: Pal Craftaid, 3520 North 30th St., Tacoma, WA 98407.

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