Melanie and Thelma
Israel January, 2007
Ray of Hope, and The Sunflower Trust giving words of hope and a hand of
friendship to the Domari People of Old Jerusalem.
Sleemís home, is a tiny room in the wall of Jerusalem.
Hugging every wall is a bed. 6 people live in this little room. This is
the bedroom, and the living room, changing room and lounge. You quickly
learn to get on with your brothers and sisters.
Lions Gate is famous for its view overlooking the Garden of Gethsemane.
I telephoned Amoun immediately, when I arrived in that Great City.
We met the next day, at The Domari Society, situated just outside the
city, on the East bank.
is running single handed this little center for poor women and children,
who live in and around the old city of Jerusalem. Most of the women are
one parent families. The children are taught how to read and write, that
goes for some of the older women and children as well, who never had the
opportunity, or the money to get an education. I asked Amoun what I should
bring, and she told me that they were starting to do a hairdressing course
for the girls. Could I bring some hairbrushes, and combs, and creams, and
hairdryers, etc, etc. The centre is quite resourceful, but everything
relies on things being donated.
have a nice little library, where a lot of the books are in English. I was
quite surprised when the children were retorting, Hello, how are you,
Hello are you...over and over again. Amoun explained that she is teaching
them English, and sees it as a way forward for the girls to get jobs in
the future in hotels or shops. I met some of the mums who spend their time
begging in the gates of the old city, very demeaning for them, but jobs
for single mums, are not readily available, and many times they were
beaten by the elders of the communities.
is looked down on, and orphans are not seen as humans of any worth. The
Domari people have lived in and around Israel for many centuries,
originally being nomads and Bedouins. They were very warm and welcoming
towards me, and I felt at home with them straight away.
of my visit, is yet to be seen. I have put Amoun in touch with several
other similar groups, who live and work in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem
School, in Shekut, have promised to help with educational ideas, and will
see what they can do to set up some kind of programme to develop awareness
and friendship. The Domari Society also make little handicrafts, to try
and help support the centre, but not enough is ever sold to actually keep
the centre in rent. They have been supported by small businesses and
Church groups, but money is quickly being absorbed by the utility bills
and rent. Amoun, has dedicated her life to this work. We took out some
hand made necklaces, that might be sold to help pay for the rent
Amoun is to much admired for her tenacity, and persistence. She
doesnít earn money because
of the love for the people, so she lives very frugally. We left some money
for the work, and clothes for the women and the children. Little fleeces
were given to the young ones, as it was very cold at night, and many
people had a very bad cough, including me.
wind blew fiercely through the old and winding narrow streets of old
Jerusalem, but the wind of change has come, as for Amoun and her work, in
trying to empower her people, and to try and give them a chance to
succeed, she already is a winner, I have invited her to come to the Summer
Conference here in UK, where she will meet other women in similar
situations. She told me her life was hard, but it would be harder if she
didnít have a cause worth fighting for. I took out some Cadburys
chocolates, they went down big time., and in exchange, I got a ride on a
camel. We will keep our eyes on this work and help at every
opportunity we can.
Return to www.unesco.co.uk