Al mashriq - The Levant

(From an ASSOCIATION NAJDEH brochure, 1998)


Palestinian Refugee Women & Development

Established in 1978, Najdeh is an independent, registered Lebanese non-governmental organization working in and around Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Najdeh is now celebrating its twentieth year in development work.

Trainee at Najdeh's Carpentry Workshop Ein El Helweh Camp, Sidon - Lebanon

Our aim is to empower women - the most disadvantaged element of the Palestinian refugee community - with the tool necessary to have'a more prominent role in their community. Women, by becoming more productive and self-reliant, contribute concretely to a lasting development of the overall Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon.

Najdeh achieves these goals through the following programs: Vocational Training and Education, Pre-school Education, Social Affairs, Income Generating, and Embroidery. Awareness raising activities are offered simultaneously with the related programs.

Najdeh staff are mostly women and are members of the Palestinian refugee community.

Vocational Training (VT)

Najdeh runs twelve vocational training centers, in all parts of Lebanon. offering more than a 100 course sessions per year. The VT program affords wornen with skills, with the long term goal of securing employment and self-sufficiency.

The VT courses are geared towards market opportunities, given the severe restrictions on Palestinian employment in Lebanon generally and the circumstances of Palestinian wornen particularly. Courses include a large spectrum of trades, ranging from Office Management and Accounting to Interior Decoration and Carpentry.

In addition to vocational training, Najdeh organizes educational courses in literacy, English language, and scholastic tutorials. Though our courses primarily target Palestinian wornen, Najdeh's participants also include men (20-25%) as well as Lebanese of both genders (1520%). Najdeh's VT Section annually targets a total of 1,400 (900 VT trainees & 500 participants in educational classes).

Social Affairs (SA)

The magnitude of socio-economic difficulties facing the Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon, renders thern virtually unable to secure a minimum standard of living.

Najdeh's five Social Affairs regional centers, annually targets 400 social hardship families. Provided assistance ineludes sponsorship, shelter rehabilitation, partial educational grants (school & vocational training fees) as well as partial medical treatment (medicine & surgery)

In 1997, the SA program incorporated a new component: educational workshops on women's reproductive health. Forty Workshops, with the participåtion of 522 wornen, were held. Najdeh plans on keeping this activity ongoing.

Pre-School Education (PSE)

To work or study, wornen need to be assured that their children/siblings are in good hands. The Pre-school education program nurtures a creative learning environment which is lacking in the refugee camps.

Najdeh's Buss Kindergarten Buss camp, Tyre - Lebanon

Najdeh has seven kindergartens and one nursery targeting 1,200 children. The PSE program provides pre-school education to 600 children (ages 3-5) as well as educational summer activities to an additional 600 children (ages 6-14).

The PSE program emphasizes the promotion of consciousness and creativity: interactive garnes, sports, theatre, reading, trips, awareness of cultural heritage, children's rights, health and environment. The PSE program also engages the parents in their children's education and community activities

Income Generating Program (IIGP)

Najdeh's Incorne Generating program is designed to encourage Palestinian entrepreneurial initiatives through a credit system. Loan beneficiaries are assisted in establishing/strengthening viable projects aiming at economic self-suff iciency.

Najdeh has loan projects in ten camp's in Lebanon, including a carpentry workshop. The IGP primarily targets those benefiting from Najdeh's SA program.

Since its inception in 1994, the IGP distributed a total of sixty-eight loans. Loan projects include: hairdressing saloons, agriculture, grocery store, sewing, auto-spare parts, construction tools, etc.

Embroidery Production (Al Badia)

Al Badia embroidery was Najdeh's first project. lts intrinsic aim is to promote Palestinian cultural heritage. The project also aims at providing wornen with economic sustenance.

AI Badia has two embroidery workshops in the camps of Ein El HeIweh and Rashidyeh. In addition, there are working groups of embroiderers in other camps. The project engages a total of seventy-seven wornen in economic productivity.

Najdeh's Al Badia has two local marketing outlets (shops) in Beirut and an international outlet (individuals/ solidarity groups) in Europe, USA and Canada.

Al Badia's e-mail:

Other Activities

Najdeh regularly organizes awareness raising activities for its beneficiaries. These activities are also open to all interested members of the community. They include seminars/workshops on issues relating to health, environment, social problems, and human rights. In addition, Najdeh staff receive regular training to improve their skills/performance.

In his drawing, Ahmad a 13 year old boy, is expressing his right to proper health care. Najdeh's Children Rights Workshop: Shatila camp, Beirut - Lebanon

Najdeh also responds quickly to emergency situations. Its latest emergency program was in 1996, when the heavy fighting in South Lebanon drove around 400,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians out of their homes and villages. Najdeh launched a vast emergency program comprising the distribution of food and clothes, recreational activities for displaced children, and reconstruction of damaged houses. These measures, coordinated with other organizations, reached more than 2,300 Palestinian and Lebanese families.

Coordination & Networking

Najdeh actively coordinates with local NG0s, on community and programmatic activities. Najdeh is also a member of several local, regional and international networks such as the Coordination Forum of NGOs Working among the Palestinian Community in Lebanon, the Arab Women Forum (AISHA) and the Network of Arab NGOs for Development.

Najdeh mostly relies on funds from European donor partner organizations and individuals. It also receives donations from partners in the US and Canada. In addition, Najdeh covers around 10% of its budget from its self-income (e.g. student fees from VT & PSE programs).

Najdeh believes that its programs, reaching over 4,000 refugees, have a tangible impact on women and children. Najdeh also engages in lobbying and advocacy thus further promoting Palestinian rights.

Association Najdeh continues to seek wider sphere of alliances in support of the Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon. Association Najdeh appreciates the support and solidarity of its donor partners, and welcomes new contributors, hoping that one day justice will prevail.

For more information, contact:

Association Najdeh
Address: P. 0. Box 113-6099 Beirut - Lebanon
Tel.: + 961 1 302079 and + 961 1 703357
Fax: + 961 1 703358
Account No. 302871 CC Arab Bank, Ras Beirut

- September 1998 -