Bedouin Women's Cooperative

Sidreh Women's Center, Negev Desert

• Learn traditional spinning & weaving •
• Teach English - Art - Music - Theatre •
• Sustainable Gardening •
• Playground Design & Construction • Solar Technology

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Location of Project: Negev Desert, Southern Israel
Duration: 2-12 weeks
Accommodation: Shared rooms or homestay
Food: Self catering or full board
Preferred Skills:
  • Female Volunteers Only
  • Good spoken English
  • Writing skills
  • Design/construction
  • Art teacher
  • Youth leadership skills
  • Solar Applications
  • GrayWater systems
  • Organic Gardening
  • Business Management & Marketing
Fees: from $1,700 -  more details

Detailed Description
The town of Lakiya (also Laqiya) is 18 kilometers (about 11 miles) north-east of Be'er Sheva, the largest city in the northern edge of the Negev Desert in southern Israel.  Both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are a little over 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) to the north. The town was established by the Israeli government in 1982 as part of the effort to clear the Bedouin from their traditional villages and concentrate them into semi-urban settings. The towns have largely failed and suffer from high rates of pverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity and development.

The region around Lakiya has much to offer. For urban excursions, Be'er Sheva (pop. 197,000) is just a 20-minute bus ride away. The city is large enough to offer a wide variety of cultural attractions and a weekly outdoor market famous throughout the region and beyond. To the south is the Rimon Crater, Israel's 'Grand Canyon', and an unusual geological phenomenon. It is about 38 X 6 kilometers in size and almost 1/2 a kilometer deep. Well worth a visit. The region also is home to many archeological sites and a 40-minute bus ride from the Dead Sea.
About the Project
Sidreh is a non-profit organization established in 1998 in Lakiya to contribute towards the empowerment, realization of the rights, and improvement of the socio-economic status of Palestinian-Arab Bedouin women in the Negev.

The group’s mission is to support the Palestinian-Arab woman in the Negev in her pursuit of the full realization of herself and her rights as well as of those of her community.

Our vision is a society in which the Palestinian-Arab woman has full ownership over herself and her decisions, fully enjoys her rights, enjoys safety and stability, feels pride regarding her cultural heritage, and realizes her place as an active member in her society.

Sidreh is named after the tree growing in the Negev and mentioned in the Koran, being used as a metaphor for women survival and strength.

We see the empowerment of women as a strategic goal for the sustainable development of local Bedouin communities in the Negev in the short and long term by:

Improving educational levels of Bedouin women (access to knowledge)

Increasing income of Bedouin women (access to resources)

Improving the social position of Bedouin women (empowerment and participation)

Promoting sustainable community development (professionalization, institutional strengthening and sustainability)

Sidreh's flagship project is the revival of traditional spinning and weaving of rugs. The group has a workshop and store in Lakiya, which serves as the center of activities for the organisation.
Volunteer Work
A wide variety of opportunities is available at Lakiya. Assisting with design and weaving of rugs, and running the workshop and storefront is always available for volunteers.
Another project is helping develop organic and sustainable home-based gardens and applying Permaculture principals.

Teachers of English, of youth music, theatre, and arts are needed, in addition to computer skills and understanding of basic software.

People with skills in the technologies for community based water collection, gray water systems, and solar applications are always welcome. Assistance is also needed with small business development, consulting, and coaching.

Writing press releases in English, developing blog posts, and documentation of Bedouin communities is an ongoing activity for which native English speakers are best utilised in order to communicate with a Global public.
Living Arrangements & Community Life
Self catering shared rooms are available in addition to being hosted in the home of a local family with full board. Home hosting is a great way to integrate into the social life of the community, and learn the culture and language.
Minimum Requirements
  • Minimum age 17
  • Desire to work with women and youth
  • Travel and Medical insurance
  • Good spoken English
Option One Includes:
• Program Fee
• Self catering
• Shared room
2 weeks
4 weeks
6 weeks
8 weeks
10 weeks
12 weeks

Option Two Includes:
• Program Fee
• Home hosting
• Full board
2 weeks
4 weeks
6 weeks
8 weeks
10 weeks
12 weeks

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