ANERA has turned into reality the dream of hundreds of Palestinian kids and their families by establishing the first Al-Bayyara public park.
And what’s more exciting is that it is only the beginning.
A 1,000 square meter plot of rubble and trash-filled land in the densely populated Ramallah neighborhood of Ein Munjid has been turned into a safe haven for kids to play and have fun.
The park is called Al-Bayyara, or citrus grove in Arabic. The name is given to a series of neighborhood parks ANERA is funding, along with Basem and Muna Hishmeh, the Ramallah Municipality and the Bank of Palestine.
“It is a dream, for me personally and the Bank of Palestine and for the kids here to finally open the first of hundreds, hopefully thousands, of small neighborhood parks and playgrounds in Ramallah,” says Bank of Palestine General Manager Hashim Shawa.
The project, completed in only one month, offers a safe, gated playground and a clean green space that is landscaped, terraced, and filled with trees. It is not just a plain piece of land, but a place where families and friends can enjoy time together.
Every day in the West Bank, kids are injured while playing in unsafe areas or under-maintained playgrounds because there are simply no alternatives. During the park’s opening ceremony on July 2, Ramallah Mayor Janette Michael reminded the audience of a recent, horrific accident when three young children died of suffocation after getting trapped in a refrigerator while playing in a storage room in a village west of Ramallah.
Parks like Al-Bayyara can help prevent such tragedies by providing safe play areas. That’s why the Municipality is determined to build at least one safe park in each neighborhood of Ramallah, with help from ANERA and the other donors.
“The parks provide green spaces for community bonding. They also create jobs,” explains Mr. Shawa. “The first park created 30 jobs for about a month. So you can imagine, if you build hundreds of these parks, that’s thousands of jobs.”