Anera Then and Now
This page will revisit some of the thousands of projects and people who Anera has worked with over the years to see where they are now — from universities that got their start with Anera’s help to teachers who changed their classroom with new skills they gained. #anerathenandnow
In 1948, a small group of concerned individuals founded AMER (American Middle East Rehabilitation) to respond with humanitarian relief for Palestinians following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In 1971, AMER merged with a young Anera to become its medical and humanitarian relief program; Anera’s oldest program. In the early years, Anera donors delivered one or two shipments annually, valued in the tens of thousands of dollars. Today, Anera’s in-kind program, thanks to our generous community of supporters and donors, distributes millions of dollars worth of medicines, hospital equipment, wheelchairs, and health care supplies annually to vulnerable communities in Palestine and Lebanon.
In 2008, Anera helped fund the construction of a new branch of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Beit Sahour. The building can accommodate up to 300 students and consists of two parallel floors with the music equipment necessary to teach at the highest levels. Following international standards for conservatories, the school provides individual and collective training rooms, a specialized music library, a multi-purpose exhibition hall, music repair workshops, a student canteen, and two small apartments to accommodate visiting professors. Today, the conservatory continues to provide world-class musical education to students in the southern West Bank region of Palestine.
When Anera created the Gaza Women’s Loan Fund in 1995, the aim was to help low-income women launch small businesses to help sustain their families. With Gaza’s high unemployment rate and many men out of work, it was up to the women of the community to help their families survive. The idea was to provide small loans as seed money for women entrepreneurs. The results have been astonishing. For women like Aida, the loan she got in 2010 changed her life.
Like the neighborhood around it in the town of Beit Hanoun, Amjad preschool had been destroyed during the 2014 Gaza war, leaving some 150 preschool children without a safe place to take refuge. In 2015, Anera partnered with other educational institutions to organize a psycho-social gathering in a vacant plot of land next to the school’s ruins so children could gather, play and express their emotions through drawings, songs, art and storytelling. Thanks to funds from the Ajram Family Foundation, the government of Kuwait, and private donors, after 45 days of hard work and dedication, Anera was able to rebuild the preschool.
In 2005, Anera supervised and managed the hillside terracing, landscaping and construction of Aqraba Public Park. Parks of this size, filled with colorful flowers, olive trees, playgrounds, and a public fountain, are rare throughout the West Bank and provide valuable green spaces for children and the community to gather. Today the park still stands, well maintained and used by the entire community.
In 1978, Anera began providing scholarships for the Dar Al-Tifl School & Orphanage for Girls in Jerusalem. In the late 1980s, Anera renovated the school facilities. Then in 2004, Anera donors upgraded the electrical system of the girls’ boarding section. By 2005, generous Anera supporters funded new furniture and materials for a museum, library and workshop for students. Our Anera community is so proud to be associated with such an important Jerusalem orphanage/school, that continues to thrive today.
In 2009, the dabkeh troupe from Rawdat El-Zuhur elementary school in Jerusalem was invited to Washington, DC to perform at Anera’s Annual Dinner. Qais, a troupe member and student at the time, never forgot the impact of that trip and how the school had a positive effect on his life. Anera has proudly supported Rawdat El-Zuhur since 1973, through a scholarship program, classroom and equipment upgrades and safety renovations. Founded in 1952 as a home for young girls whose lives were shaken up by the 1948 war, over the years it has evolved into a co-ed elementary school and a kindergarten that now educates around 250 Palestinian students.
In 2010, with funding from IFAD and support from the local authorities, Anera moved the wholesale produce market from the center of Tulkarem, West Bank, where it was causing traffic jams and congestion. The new location, on the edge of town, is much easier for farmers and buyers to access. All of the stalls are rented and the market bustles with activity every day.
Through the years, Anera has organized training programs for Atfaluna staff, renovated and improved its facilities and generally supported Atfaluna’s work to prepare so many talented children and adults for life. The Atfaluna Society is the only school in Gaza city that works to improve the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing people, particularly those aged between 3-5 years.
In the early 1990s, Anera invested $110,000 in Hebron University to help establish the soil and water lab. Today in 2018, the lab is one of the busiest in the department of agriculture. Not only do students and professors use it to help with their work and research, but it’s also open to the local community so farmers can run tests on soil and water samples.
Najwa says she wouldn’t be as successful today if she had not participated in Anera’s training back in 2007. The special awareness sessions were part of Anera’s Milk for Preschoolers program, which helped combat anemia by providing daily snacks of fortified milk and biscuits. “I learned how to identify kids with symptoms of anemia and advise parents how to refer them to local clinics for proper treatment.” Najwa explains. “Today I focus on hygiene and the preparation of healthy meals for children and how a mother can do that with minimum costs.” Najwa smiles, “I learned all this in Anera’s training with a professional doctor back in 2007 and it has served me well ever since.” Najwa also earned an Anera certificate in active learning that focused on expressive arts and drama. Because of her dedication and professionalism, she was selected to be the preschool’s director in 2009.
During the rainy season in the Jordan Valley, rain can come hard and fast, causing flooding and wreaking havoc in communities by disconnecting people from their workplaces, schools, and health care services. In 2007, Anera built gabions to shore up the sides of a ravine in Jericho. Ever since, rainwater has safely traveled to the Jordan River and depleted aquifers.
Twenty years after Anera’s small role in Magdi’s life (the invitation to study organic farming in California), his organic farm in Gaza is thriving and he is a mentor to other farmers. Anera also has just installed a large pond to collect water for drip irrigation on his farm. “Another great thing about organic farming is that water resources are better managed,” says Magdi.
A small group of concerned individuals founded AMER (American Middle East Rehabilitation) to respond with humanitarian relief for Palestinians following the first Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948. In 1971, AMER merged with Anera and became Anera’s medical and humanitarian relief program. Today, eight staff work with hundreds of clinics, hospitals and pharmacies in vulnerable communities across Lebanon and Palestine, delivering millions of dollars worth of vital health care supplies.