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Rooftop gardens provide food and hope for cash-strapped Palestinians

Khader Najjar waters his vegetables in his rooftop greenhouse on the roof of his four-storey building in the Dheisheh refugee camp. The vegetables help feed his and his brother’s families. Photo by Khaled Zighari.

The funding for Mr Najjar’s greenhouse was supplied by Karama, a Dheisheh-based non-profit organisation. It paid roughly US$900 (Dh340) for each of the first 15 greenhouses given to Dheisheh residents.

Hugh Naylor
The National AE
Dec 13, 2012


With the help of makeshift greenhouses, more than a dozen Palestinian families have started to farm on the roofs to blunt the harshness of a financial crisis that has crippled the Palestinian Authority (PA) and drained the pocketbooks of the refugee camp’s 13,000 residents.

Here they tend to their modest crops with remarkable dedication. Not only does rooftop farming mean less cash spent for food. For many, it is a remedy to the claustrophobia of camp life.

“I dream of this way of life,” said Khader Najjar while watering rows of cabbage, spicy peppers and green beans in the garden on the roof of his four-storey building. From his vantage point, he looked across at the skylines of Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Mr Najjar, a 46-year-old labourer, said his wife cooks the vegetables he harvests. They also give some to his brother, a teacher in a PA-run secondary school.

Read the complete article here.