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Since Lajee’s inception, the focus was primarily on educating and assisting the refugee youth to grow into their fullest potential and be outstanding members within society. However, many staff members at the Lajee Center saw a need to involve the women within the refugee camps in such activities, who are mothers of the youth and generations to come. These concerned staff members interested in women’s rights and issues, explored and assessed the organizations readiness to carry out projects targeting refugee women, specifically at the administrative, cultural, and infrastructural levels. A focus group was comprised of a group of women from both Aida and Al-Azza camps, which served as a chance for the women to be a prominent part in designing, planning, implementing and evaluating the programs that concern them fully and effectively. It is worth mentioning that the Lajee team encountered serious challenges to find information on refugee women in addressing detailed variables on their enjoyment of social and economic rights. Staff members within the Health Club as well as in other units in Lajee Center throughout their work with the target groups observed that 3% of the targeted women are illiterate, the majority of which are unemployed, and many of them express living under a huge pressure resulting from economic stress and the Israeli occupations policies and practices. Additionally, women in previous initiatives held by Lajee Center expressed their need for initiatives which will make it possible for them to become economically independent, as well as promotes their psychological and social wellbeing; this will ultimately make the women involved more capable of enjoying their right to self-determination and make decisions concerning their own lives independently.

The Lajee Center organized a Women’s Unit comprised of Lajee staff members and women living within the refugee camps to address those issues. The Women’s Unit has two objectives: one focusing on enhancing the centers systematic approach to the promotion of social, economic and political rights of refugee women, the other focuses on initiatives for refugee women within Aida and Al-Azza camps to build their competencies, knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to improve their social and economic rights. To accomplish the first object, the Lajee staff members who are responsible for organizing and managing the Women’s Unit underwent trainings as well as other strategies to enhance the staff’s knowledge and skills on tackling refugee women’s concerns on one hand and, strengthen the center’s networks with relevant stakeholders and women’s rights organizations on the other hand. The second objective was accomplished by placing programs for the participation of refugee women in facilitating their political, social and economic empowerment. These programs include teaching women the skills necessary to manage income-generating activities, such as hand crafting and expertise on food production, as well as the knowledge on management, packaging and advertising their skills within the community. Currently there are 100+ women within Aida and Al-Azza camps involved in the Lajee Women’s Unit since its establishment.

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