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Bethlehem Pack 2012 Resources for Christmas

Home – Hope made concrete

Home rebuild 2013 India – rights are not enough amos news no.123 www.amostrust.org

Challenging Injustice Rebuilding hope

Winter 2012


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amos news

amos news winter 2012

amos news

hope and solidarity made concrete Chris Rose Director

2013 represents 65 years since the Nakba (which means catastrophe) when the State of Israel was formed forcing 800,000 to flee their homes in historic Palestine. In April we will rebuild a demolished home in a rural village near Bethlehem. Home demolition by the Israeli government is part of an on-going strategy to depopulate this community. The rebuild project is not really about laying bricks and pouring concrete, it is about building a home, building hope and standing with the local community in solidarity against injustice. At Amos Trust we believe that human rights and humans flourishing must go hand in hand and central to this is a sense of home as a place of safety, belonging and opportunity.

Below Umthombo Surf School © Wilf Whitty

I recently visited the homes of children from the Tamarind Project, our partner in Southern India. Each family receives a monthly stipend to help with the children’s food and schools costs, but in order to

survive most parents will work from dawn till dark (or beyond) as ‘coolies’– day labourers paid $1 - $2 a day.

The most effective work we can do to prevent children and families coming onto the streets is to make rural community life sustainable. In Nicaragua, this is particularly important as the country is deeply affected by deforestation and climate change. CEPAD and its partners are providing a fantastic integrated response in rural communities, training local people, particularly women in sustainable farming techniques, which they then pass on to others. Long term this investment benefits the whole community and enables them to move away from aid hand-outs. We talk about hope at Christmas and all too often it feels as if it has been blown away by the new year, but in Amos’ day-to-day work with our partners, I see hope has become concrete.

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creative fundraising Katie Hagley Community Engagement Officer

The parents we met asked if Tamarind will be reopening their children’s home soon, because they desperately want their children to have the safety, education and opportunity needed for the future they cannot have. (See page 7.) The new year is the start of the academic year in South Africa and Umthombo Street Children’s annual drive to get children back into school. Many children come onto the streets to beg at traffic lights for the extra money their families need for school uniforms and shoes, which are a prerequisite for attending school. These children are so vulnerable and will never get enough money through begging. Umthombo’s outreach and early intervention programmes target these children, first getting them back at home and then helping their families secure grants to pay for uniforms and school.

amos news winter 2012

Katie Hagley, a former trustee and long term supporter of Amos, has recently joined our staff team as our Community Engagement Officer. She will work with individual supporters, churches and communities to raise awareness and funds for our partners. Katie writes…… In 1998, I travelled to Palestine with Amos Trust. In a place called Tekoa (Paradise), birthplace of the prophet Amos, I met a man, stood in his slippers, next to his recently demolished home, who told me to go back and tell people his story. A truly life-changing moment which inspired me on my return home, to leave my job in recruitment and join Christian Aid as a Community Fundraiser and Campaigner.

Below Surf’s up! © Pete Cox

Over the eight years I have been an Amos Trustee, it has been so encouraging to meet Amos supporters at Amos Days, Greenbelt, on trips and in Durban at the Street Child World Cup.

At Amos we know that we cannot do anything without our supporters spreading the word about us and our partners and supporting us financially. It might be a quick talk at the beginning of the service, or a film night showing Street Kids United, taking part in one of our cycling events or in the case of supporters in North Devon, holding a Christmas ball to raise money for the Surfers Not Street Children tour next year, when Umthombo will be bringing some of their surf team to the UK to tour surf spots and raise awareness of the plight of street children in Durban and around the world – (more details in the new year.) Meanwhile others are using the updated Bethlehem Pack as part of their Advent Celebrations, persuading their church to support the Home Rebuild appeal this Christmas (see back page), or are coming onboard as regular givers, which helps us and our partners to plan ahead more easily; and then there are the fundraisers finding creative ways to raise money and get others involved such as the Norfolk youth group who recently spent the night sleeping on cardboard boxes in the church garden in aid of the Street Child World Cup. Many of the inspirational Amos partners that I have met on my journey with Amos Trust have talked about the importance of Amos coming alongside them, and we in turn value the fact that you, our supporters, walk this journey with us and our partners, by attending Amos days, going on trips and then getting out there and doing something about it. It is my role to work with you and help you to spread the message, put on events and make a difference. So do get in touch at katie@amostrust.org and let me know what materials and support we can give you to help make things happen to bring justice and hope to the forgotten.


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amos news winter 2012

palestine – israel

palestine – israel

amos news winter 2012

home rebuild 2013 Nive Hall Operations Manager

Below Home rebuilding underway © Amos Trust

When I’m talking to people about what Amos does, they are often surprised that an organisation that campaigns for a just peace in Palestine and Israel is also working for street children’s rights in Durban and beyond, for the rights of communities in rural Nicaragua and Dalit communities in Tamil Nadu. What, they ask, are the things these situations have in common that motivate us to respond?

Home is one answer. We all need a home where we feel safe and part of a community. Amos is committed to the idea of home and much of our work is dedicated to highlighting and challenging injustices that threaten homes and communities. In Palestine, homes and communities are literally under the threat of the bulldozer. Our partners on the ground, particularly Holy Land Trust and the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, have identified home demolitions as one of the most brutal tools used by the Israeli occupation to deliberately intimidate Palestinians and force them from their land. In April 2011 a group of Amos volunteers helped rebuild a demolished Palestinian home in Al Walaja, just outside Bethlehem. As a result a family was able to return to their land and community where they remain, despite a fresh demolition order hanging over their rebuilt home. Our partners are at the forefront of nonviolent resistance to the occupation and teach non-violence strategies to their communities. Amos shares with them a spiritual and theological commitment to non-violence, where the de-humanising effects of oppression are challenged by creative non-violent responses designed to challenge injustice whilst emphasising the profound value of all, including the oppressor. There is a beautiful Arabic word Sumud, which translates roughly as steadfastness, that has come to embody the idea of resisting the occupation by remaining on the land, despite the intense pressure to leave. We love the idea that existing is resisting and are committed to standing alongside our Palestinian brothers and sisters as they choose to remain.

In April 2013, we will work with Holy Land Trust and the local community to rebuild another Palestinian home unjustly demolished by the Israeli government. We need your support and there are many ways you can help: –– Volunteer Join the team who will go and help rebuild the home see the flier enclosed with this newsletter for details. –– Donate Our Christmas appeal this year is to raise the money to pay for the building materials and expertise to rebuild this demolished home. –– Spread the word Tell your friends and church about the camping, encourage people to volunteer and support the fundraising effort. Download the 2012 Bethlehem Pack for resources and ideas – see below.

In 2003, Rachel Corrie was killed by a bulldozer in Gaza while she was standing in front of a Palestinian home trying to prevent its demolition. The Israeli judge running the enquiry into the incident suggested, as part of his judgement, that Rachel should have moved out of the bulldozer’s way, Rachel’s mother, Cindy responded…. “I  don’t think that Rachel should have moved. I think we should all have been standing there with her.” Stand with us. Challenging injustice and rebuilding hope in Palestine in April 2013.

–– Pray For Palestinians whose homes have been demolished or are living with the knowledge that they could be demolished at any time, and for a just peace in Palestine and Israel where the rights and value of all are recognised.

2012 Bethlehem Pack

To help you tell others about the home rebuild and support the campaign, you can download special resources from www.amostrust.org/downloads The 2012 Bethlehem Pack contains readings, poems and first-hand statements from Christians living in Bethlehem. It is designed for use in churches and groups over Christmas to highlight the situation in present day Bethlehem. The pack has been updated for 2012 with special material relating to home demolitions. The home rebuild information sheet contains detailed information, statistics and history about home demolitions in the West Bank, as well as information about joining the group rebuilding the home in April 2013.

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palestine – israel

amos news winter 2012

bet lahem live festival

india

christmas cards Our online shop www.amostrust.org/shop is stocked up ready for Christmas with olive wood walled nativity scenes, a range of books and CDs and Amos Trust Christmas cards including a new design Oh Holy Night, which is featured on this newsletter’s cover. A pack of 10 cards is £5.

amos news winter 2012

hope in india Chris Rose Director

How could I ask God’s blessing? ‘Will   you pray for us?’ ‘Would   you like me to pray for your family?’ ‘How   could I ask God’s blessing for just my family when all these villages need his blessing.’ — Rajathi’s father

For several years we have taken groups linked to the Greenbelt Festival to visit Palestine. It was during one of these visits that staff from Greenbelt, Amos Trust and the Holy Land Trust first came up with the idea of holding an arts festival in Bethlehem.

Below left School children © Amos Trust Children playing © Amos Trust Opposite Sign on the land where the Tamarind Training Centre is being built. Building has since begun! © Chris Rose

We are delighted that Bet Lahem Live Festival will be happening from Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 June 2013. Bet Lahem Live will show the world another side of the little town, that it is not just a historic day trip for tourists or a place defined by the separation wall surrounding it, but Bethlehem is home to 200,000 people, who are a vibrant, creative community despite the pressure of life under occupation. The costs of staging the festival are significant, so we are asking Amos supporters to consider getting involved as a sponsor or by making one-off donation. Please email nive@amostrust.org for details. The line-up includes artists from all over the West Bank ranging from dance companies to theatre groups, solo singers to bands including the biggest band of the moment from the Arabs Got Talent competition on national TV. We are working with Greenbelt to book and host a small number of international artists to join the line-up on the main stage in Manger Square each night. Festival passes go on sale in January at www.holylandtrust.org If you are planning a trip to Palestine next summer, then this would be a great time to visit.

made in palestine t-shirts Made in Palestine t-shirts are available from our online shop at just £10 each. These cotton shirts, made in a factory in Beit Jala, are a great way to start the conversation about the current situation in occupied Bethlehem. Each shirt comes with a tag directing people to www.madeinpalestine.co.uk providing an intro to the current situation. Available in red and green in a range of sizes. All proceeds from our shop go to Amos projects around the world.

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In September for the first time since 2008, I visited the Tamarind Project, Amos’ partner in Southern India, travelling with it’s founder Rev. Jacob Devadason The Tamarind Project was set up to give the children who live in extreme poverty in the local Dalit communities surrounding the town of Sankarankovil in Tamil Nadu access to education. For 3,000 years these communities have experienced caste based oppression and while the social divisions between castes are becoming less clear cut,

caste still dominates lives and limits the opportunities available to these people. Tamarind provides a monthly stipend and educational assistance to 100 children, a quarter of which are from families in the Ghat mountains who are labourers bonded to tea estates. Until two years ago many of these children had been living in the Shalom Happy Home, part of the Tamarind Project. However the home has had to close due to changes in legislation brought about by pressure from Hindu fundamentalist political groups, which has penalised projects run by Christian groups. At the time I had been relieved to see the home close as it seemed so much better for these children to be with their parents or extended family at home rather than in a children’s home. However this was not the view of the families we visited during my recent trip, all of whom were keen for the home to reopen.


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india

amos news winter 2012

Rajathi’s father told me: ‘We are coolies (casual agricultural labourers). It is so hard to pay the rent and feed the family, so if I get work, they will pay 50 rupees a day, so I must take it and Rajathi’s mother must take our cows off to the forest to graze. If our children are here, then Rajathi has to look after her little brother. And how is she to do homework when we have no electricity? In the home she was safe, she could study and realise her dream to be a nurse. She must not be trapped in our life but choose a better situation. Being coolies must end with us, our children cannot carry not on doing this.’ Every child we met had a clear vision of what they wanted to do in the future and understood that education was the way to achieve their goal. What shone out wherever we went was these parents’ commitment to their children’s futures. We were also overwhelmed by the hospitality shown to us by these families bringing their children up in extreme

conditions. One family was living in the pitch dark in a room beside a cowshed, whilst a single mother with three boys lived in a tiny rented room in Sankarankovil. She told us: ‘I work in the supermarket for 12 hours every day, I get 65 rupees (75 pence) a day. The rent is 40 rupees. There is no water or electricity. When I finish at 9:00pm I come home and cook for my three boys. Without Tamarind when my husband died my children and I would not have survived. Now they have nearly finished school and each can go on and train for the career they want as a teacher or a mechanic.’ Amos commitment to this small inspirational project is best summed up in the words of its founder Jacob: ‘Constitutional rights are not enough if you cannot read them and if you are not empowered to claim them. Education changes that! And the Tamarind Project makes this possible for children from these villages.’

Tamarind Training Centre In 2008 the Tamarind Project purchased a piece of land just outside Sankarankovil to build a centre to provide nursing and teacher training courses. Several local landlords objected to building on this land, but these objections have now been discounted and after four years of delays, work has commenced and the foundations have been laid for the Tamarind Training Centre. The building work is providing jobs for local people, and the training centre is scheduled to open by Easter 2013

amos travel

amos news winter 2012

alternative pilgrimages in 2013

latin american pilgrimage sunday 17 –  thursday 28 november 2013

We are running three alternative pilgrimages in 2013, our ever popular trip to Palestine and Israel in May, one for young people in August, and our new Latin American pilgrimage to Nicaragua in November.

Nicaragua gets under your skin. Every time we have taken a group to visit, people have come back fired up and passionate about this beautiful country and its people. Nicaragua has been described as “The threat of a good example.” It is a country that prioritises the poor and shows the rest of the world how to build a community with equality.

For more information and a booking form for any of these trips, contact sarah@amostrust.org

Our 12 day Latin American Pilgrimage, hosted by our partners CEPAD combines visiting Amos’ partner projects with relaxation and reflection in this country of great natural beauty. The itinerary will include time in the historic capital Managua, the beautiful colonial city of Granada and visits to Amos supported projects including the Avocado Tree School, rural women’s projects and community initiatives in San Jose de Los Remates. There will be opportunities to climb a volcano, swim in lagoons and relax on the shores of Lake Nicaragua as well as time to meet local people and experience Nicaraguan hospitality and culture. £1750 including flight and full board accommodation.

Below Street scene, Nicaragua © Karen Stafford

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winter appeal 2012

amos news winter 2012

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challenging injustice – rebuilding hope appeal aged 18 – 30? discover palestine now wednesday 28 august – friday 16 september 2013

alternative pilgrimage to palestine and israel monday 13 – wednesday 22 may 2013 For over 15 years Amos Trust has been taking groups to visit Palestine and Israel, inviting them to meet, listen and reflect showing them not just the historic and Biblical sites, but helping people to understand what it is like to live in the Holy Land today. This ten day trip is ideal for first time visitors. Hosted our partners, Holy Land Trust, the trip includes seeing the sights of Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Galilee, as well as meeting local Palestinian and Israeli peace activists, visiting community projects and spending time with the local Christian community enjoying Palestinian hospitality, food and culture.

I/we would like to support the work of Amos

Join this special trip for 18 – 30 year olds. The itinerary is similar to our alternative pilgrimage, plus –– Volunteering opportunities for local arts, environmental and sports projects. –– Opportunities to meet young Israelis and Palestinians. £900 including flight and dorm accommodation.

I/we enclose a contribution of £

for the Challenging injustice – Rebuilding hope Appeal

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to be allocated to Amos’ general funds / another project*

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£1250 including flights and half-board accommodation.

Cheque (payable to Amos Trust) We accept CAF Cheques, Stewardship Services vouchers and Sovereign Giving vouchers Credit Card To donate by credit card please visit the secure giving site at www.amostrust.org/support Standing Order To give a regular gift please complete the standing order form opposite

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Right Amos travels in Palestine – Israel © Karen Stafford © Wilf Whitty

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challenging injustice – rebuilding hope appeal “We   do not call it house demolition, we call it family demolition” Salim Shawamreh

Our building materials shopping list includes: 10,000 concrete blocks, 20 blocks cost £5.00 140 bags of cement – £10.00 each 8 light fittings - £20.00 each

In April 2013 a team of 20 volunteers from Amos Trust will be working with local Palestinian families and the Holy Land Trust to rebuild a home which was demolished by the Israeli army. Our aim is not only to transform the lives of the family whose home has been destroyed, and give hope to the local community, but also to stand in solidarity against the injustice of home demolitions, so that these people know they are not forgotten by the rest of the world. We need to raise £25,000 to pay for the local labour and building materials for the home and a further £12,000 for the salary of Holy Land Trust’s community field worker. This role is a vital part of the project, as the field worker will not only run the rebuilding project, but they will also support the family and local community before, during and after the rebuild. So this Christmas we are asking Amos supporters to make a donation to cover the cost of some bricks, a bag of cement, a light fitting, even the kitchen sink.

2 sinks – £35.00 each 1 toilet – £50.00 each 1 roof top water tank – £125 (those of you who have visited Palestine will know this is an essential.)

Why not make a donation as a Christmas gift for a friend or relative. You can download a gift certificate to give to them from www.amostrust.org/downloads

We are also looking for supporters to commit to give £10 a month towards the salary of the Holy Land Trust’s community field worker. (Please choose the regular giving option on the form overleaf.)

This Christmas, help a family return home and add your voice to challenge the injustice of home demolitions.

Above Rebuilding a demolished home © Amos Trust Cover Oh Holy Night, based on an original photo by Karen Stafford

Amos Trust 4th Floor, Development House 56 – 64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT

Phone 020 7588 2638 Email info@amostrust.org Website amostrust.org

Reg. Charity no 292592

Amos Trust News Winter 2012  

Amos Trust's Winter Newsletter 2012 - all the latest news from our partners around the world.