Happy Valentine’s Day from Anera
Will you be our Valentine? Celebrate Valentine’s Day with us by revisiting how our programs and the communities where we work play a role in supporting healthy hearts!
6. Healthy Food
Olives and olive oil are flavorful additions to a heart healthy diet. Olives are the fruit of an ancient symbol of Palestine: rooted to the land, hardy against the odds, and bearing branches of peace. Across Palestine farmers and their families join in the effort to harvest the crop. Anera helps to preserve olive groves whenever possible
And olive oil is a major product in the Palestinian economy. Olive presses in Palestine require continuous maintenance to preserve the traditional production techniques.
“Olive oil is green gold,” says Adel Msallam Tmaizi, who owns an olive press with his brother. “We need the continual support of local and international organizations to preserve it.”
— Anera Refugee Aid (@ANERAorg) October 24, 2017
5. Youth Sports
Regular physical activity is another important component of heart health. In Lebanon, Anera provides children and youth with a safe place to play and uses sports to teach life skills. Anera’s youth sports programs focus on training coaches, bringing communities together, building confidence, empowering girls and building safe spaces.
Refugee crises have heightened tensions and historic friction between Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians. Competition for space, resources, and employment increases tensions. There are few recreational facilities to allow young people to interact with one another, develop social skills of tolerance, or just have fun. Anera uses local football clubs and other sports activities to teach conflict-management and life skills, as well as health and hygiene education to marginalized boys and girls. Used in this way, sports like basketball, football, yoga, swimming and aerobics can promote understanding and peaceful coexistence among Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian communities.
4. Clean Water
Staying hydrated, which boosts circulation, is another great way to keep your heart healthy. And having ready access to clean water is vital to keeping your thirst at bay. Unfortunately, most of Palestine suffers from a chronic lack of water caused by climate change, drought, growing cities, over-consumption, waste and pollution.
Which is why Anera was proud to launch a wastewater reuse project last year in Ramallah, helping to conserve scarce drinking water in the city. When completed in 2020, it will protect the water supply by facilitating the reuse of wastewater for non-household uses like construction, park irrigation and fire-fighting. The project will increase the amount of potable water available for drinking and cooking and greatly improve the urban living environment.
3. Anti-smoking Awareness
No one disputes that tobacco use is a major risk factor for heart disease. But 36% of youths in Lebanon smoke and the percentage is higher among adults (WHO). Cigarettes are easily accessible in Lebanon. And they are cheap.
“I was four years old the first time I tried to smoke,” said Ahmad Kaddoura, remembering his childhood in Rashidiyeh Palestinian Camp. “Here in the camp, even if you can’t afford a full pack, and the shopkeeper will give you several cigarettes in return.” He quit smoking in 2017, one week after completing an Anera drug awareness course targeting sports providers.
Anera also provides anti-smoking messages among its health education resources, including posters directed at children to ensure warnings about the dangers of smoking reach kids from an early age. In addition to cigarettes, Anera’s no-smoking signs feature the narghileh (hookah or shisha), since this popular pastime is also dangerous to health.
2. Medical Care
Through Anera’s in-kind donations of vital medicines and medical supplies in Palestine and Lebanon, we also address heart health directly. We help patients and health care providers get access to the medications they need for healthy hearts.
When Raef from Hebron in the West Bank experienced severe chest pains and tingling in his arm, he was quickly transported to the Hebron Hospital. Anera had recently delivered a donation of stents to the hospital from long-time partner and donor AmeriCares. Lucky for Raef, the hospital was stocked with these crucial medical instruments before his arrival—which may very well have saved his life.
“Anera is a dear name to my heart,” says Raef, who teaches at a university in Jenin. “Not only has it helped me with my recent situation but, when I was much younger, it was actually the only organization to help me fund my very first research exploring the post-traumatic impact of the first intifada [popular uprising] on children. It is an organization to lean on.”
1. Women’s Fitness
Women need spaces for health heart-boosting fitness activities too! Rasha Baher is a triple black belt Thai boxer who runs successful gyms for women in southern Lebanon. She rides a motorbike, to commute between the gyms she operates, turning heads for her unconventional mode of transport for a woman.
Anera provided a loan to her business, after the windows of her gym in Tyre were shattered during the 2006 war in Lebanon. The loan was part of Anera’s Southern Agriculture and Business Recovery Program, or SABR. The program provided grants of $500 to $2,000 to help rehabilitate the economy of southern Lebanon in the wake of the 2006 conflict there, helping more than 2,100 farmers, fishermen and entrepreneurs to recover from the war’s economic impact, sustain their business and continue to provide for their families and their community.
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