Palestinian children need strong bodies because we are first and foremost living under occupation. When the occupation is combined with poverty, this is an impossible situation for the children. —Um Hassan, farmer, mother, grandmother, and the first woman elected to the Village Council

A group of women in the Palestinian village of Masara took over the village’s school kitchens, got rid of all the junk food. Now, they come in every day at 5:30 am to prepare fresh, healthy lunches and snacks for 400 children. MECA has helped the women in Masara purchased kitchen equipment, supplies and a second water tank to address the water shortage Palestinians face.

The Need for Healthy Food

Despite the fact that Masara is an agricultural village, the school cafeteria was filled with packaged junk food. The community didn't have the means to purchase equipment and supplies to prepare fresh food in large quantities. And like most Palestinian villages, there is a water shortage because Israel controls all water resources and allows Palestinians to use only about 10% of the available water.

Location: Masara Village, Bethlehem, Palestine

Masara is a Palestinian village located 13 Km south of Bethlehem City and 22 km north of Hebron, with about 900 residents, more than 50 percent are children. The name Al Masara dates back to Roman times and means mill of the press, in reference to the natural rocks used to press grapes and olives. Most of the families in Masara support themselves through sheep and goat farming, harvests of grapes, olives, and seasonal vegetables. Much of the villages land has been confiscated to build illegal Israeli settlement and the Apartheid Wall.