Though the streets of Jerash camp illustrate its high poverty level, the rooftops above hide oases of hope and economic development. The camp — locally known as Gaza camp — is home to an estimated 25,000 Palestinian refugees. On many of the camps’ rooftops, hydroponic gardens can be found. Each one is owned and managed by two women or youth under the UNICEF-supported Sennara green rooftops project.
According to Mohammad Syam, a Palestinian refugee from the camp who created the initial concept, Sennara centers its aims around the saying: “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a year.” Aligned with this concept of sustainability and self-sufficiency, the project creates sustainable employment opportunities for women and young people in Jerash camp, according to UNICEF Jordan Representative Tanya Chapuisat.
On the camp’s rooftops, beneficiaries learn to grow crops, which are then sold, with 75 percent of profits going directly to the families involved, and 25 percent directed towards sustaining the Sennara project itself. “The project provides UNICEF-supported training and seed funding to help those involved to learn new skills, strengthen their food security, and become more self-sufficient while developing their own businesses,” Chapuisat told.
The UNICEF-supported enterprise has so far trained and equipped 40 women and young people to run, sustain and manage these green rooftop gardens, which have also created an additional 30 income-generating opportunities for other people in the camp through the “ripple effect” of these enterprises.
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