2019 — the year in review

Its that time of year to look back at what was, as we look forward to what will be. Here are the Amos staff team’s top picks of 2019; from workshops in Tanzania to marathons in Bethlehem, from cricket finals at Lord’s to home rebuilds in Palestine, from cycle rides in the West Bank to fundraising dinners in London — these are our highlights.

Karin Joseph
On Her Terms, Lead

Amos Trust's Karin Joseph (far right), moderating the Women’s panel at Amos’ first Climate Justice summit — Cambridge, September 2019

Once In A Lifetime: Karin Joseph (far right), moderating the Womens panel at Amos first Climate Justice summit — Cambridge, September 2019

  1. Once In A Lifetime — Climate Justice summit
    The whole summit was a highlight for me, particularly the spirituality session, the open mic cabaret and the final session when we visited the Botanic Garden. I also loved the opportunity to lead the women’s panel (see above). 

  2. Tanzania workshop
    This surpassed my expectations; the participants gained so much learning from the team at Cheka Sana and it really helped me to see where On Her Terms could lead. 


  3. India visit 
    Visiting our partner Karunalaya for the first time and then leading my first Amos supporter trip to see them, in the same year, was really great. I felt so proud to have them as one of our On Her Terms partners. 


I think all three of my highlights are about our ability to build relationships and bring people together, which I felt very acutely this year.

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Katie Hagley
Community Engagement and Fundraising

Katie Hagley speak at the Amos Trust Advent Bethlehem carol service in West Yorkshire – December 2019

Deck The Halls: Katie Hagley speaking at the Amos Trust Advent Bethlehem carol service in West Yorkshire — December 2019

  1. Sami Awads Christmas tour

    Getting the chance to spend time with Sami Awad from Holy Land Trust is always great but just as important was the chance to spend time with our supporters old and new. It’s hard work being on tour but it brings together all we do and I love that. 


  2. Palestine Marathon
    Actually completing the marathon was a highlight, despite injuries and wrong turnings — but more importantly, seeing what it meant to the rest of the team to take part in the run and the whole experience. And spending time with Said and Elias from Holy Land Trust, our beloved partners in Bethlehem. 


  3. Dámaris and Gilbertos tour
    The chance to spend time with our partners on tour is always a highlight; chatting on trains, over dinner, sharing events. Having Dámaris and Gilberto visit the UK in September 2019 was especially wonderful as it felt like people really engaged with our work in Nicaragua, particularly at Amos Day when they got to meet so many of our supporters. 


We’re busy planning lots of exciting things for 2020 which I cant wait to share with you all.

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Jill Howard-Gunasekera
Administration

A group of women from the UK standing at the top of the Mount of Olives over-looking the Old City of Jerusalem.

Women only: The Women Of The West Bank group from the UK, with Amos’ Administrator Jill Howard-Gunasekera third from the right, standing at the top of the Mount of Olives over-looking the Old City of Jerusalem — June 2019.

  1. Meeting Jean Zaru in Palestine
    I remember sitting in a curtained, office meeting room in Ramallah and a slightly older (than me), lady walked in. Lucy (from Wi'am) introduced her as Jean Zaru. Little did I know what a great hour I was about to spend with a remarkable thinker. Even in that short time, she opened up for me new ways of thinking about things, particularly what she described as the ‛violence of the weak.

    Jean is also a Quaker theologian and leader and when I got back home I bought her book straight away, Occupied with non-violence’, which is available via Blackwells here. I recommend it. 


  2. Street Child Cricket World Cup at Lord’s
    I had the pleasure of meeting the South Indian Cricket team from Karunalaya at the Amos office ahead of their world cup matches. I just remember mostly their huge smiles, and excited talking, so I felt it would be great to go and watch them if I got the chance. 

    As my husband doesn't like cricket, (he loves it!), he was more than a little enthusiastic when I suggested we go to Lords! It was a wonderful afternoon and they won!! It was brilliant to see them leaping in the air with joy.

  3. Learning from other women
    I was struck travelling with an all womens group at the enormous wealth of experience and skills around me. Some of the Palestinian women speakers we visited were surprised there were no men with us. It seemed to change the dynamic in the way they spoke with us.

    Our male drivers were also, shall we say, surprised by us! It was a fantastic trip and thank you to all my fellow trippers, if you are reading this, for making it so good!

Im looking forward to helping develop our work with young women and girls with the rest of team throughout 2020.

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Nive Hall
Operations

Amos Trust's Operations Manager and Home Rebuild Lead on site in the West Bank.

If you build it, they will come: Amos Operations Manager and Home Rebuild Lead, Nive Hall, taking things very seriously on site in the West Bank — April 2019

  1. Home Rebuild — Lulus story
    It took a week for Lulu, the mother from the family whose home we were helping to rebuild, to feel comfortable telling the story of the night her home was demolished — a week of building trust and becoming friends. In the safe space that emerged, the story was all the more devastating.


  2. Home Rebuild — Chris Cant’s kidnapping (not really)
    It’s hard managing a large group but trying to get three groups to three different projects at the same time, with drivers who don’t know where they are going is an even bigger challenge. That’s how Chris, one of our amazing home rebuilders, and two others ended up being dropped in the middle of nowhere, with men they didn’t know, by a taxi driver who had disappeared in a cloud of dust. 

    My nerves about the group chastising me were unfounded as Chris regaled us with a hilarious account of his adventures. I was profoundly moved when I asked for 10 volunteers for the same project for the next day and 25 hands shot up.

  3. Amos Road Club — Mike Stan’s epiphany
    Mike’s been on almost all of our Road Club rides, coast to coast, London to Paris and beyond. When he told us how going to ride in Palestine had been an incredibly moving and transformative experience for him, it showed me how inviting people to just come and join us in one thing can start journeys with destinations we could not have imagined at the start.

If you would like to join me on the next Amos Home Rebuild in Palestine in early April 2021, please click here for more details.

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Chris Rose
Director

Amos Trust's Director Chris Rose cycling through the West with Amos Road Club.

On Yer Bike: Amos Trusts Director Chris Rose cycling through the West with Amos Road Club — March 2019

  1. Tour of Palestine
    After the Giro d’ Palestine ride in 2018, we were able to explore the West Bank at a far more leisurely pace in 2019; meeting Ahed Tamimi and her family, staying a night at Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem and the world-class descent into Jericho were all highlights.

  2. Gaza visit and Walk The West Bank
    A lowlight or the highlight of the year — I’m not sure which. I was deeply saddened by my trip to Gaza in November. It made me really angry and reminds me so deeply of why Ahlan Gaza and our work there is so important.

    Then, the home-stays, the walking and the group as a whole on our first Walk the West Bank trip since the Just Walk To Jerusalem back in 2017 was incredible. 


  3. Street Child Cricket World Cup at Lord’s
    Lord’s were unbelievable hosts for the Street Child Cricket World Cup final. I’d watched the members area on TV since I was a child but never expected to be in the Long Room myself. But to be there and to see Karunalaya’s young people win was wonderful.

    Then to be the guest of Paul Raj’s, their star batsmen, in their shack on the side of one of Chennai’s busiest roads, and to see their pride that we were their guest and in their son when I told them what a great ambassador he was? Just unforgettable

2019 was another year when we were able to partner with more amazing people and grow our relationships with our partners and friends around the world.

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Nick Welsh
Digital, Design and Comms.

Glen Matlock and Amos Trust's Nick Welsh in Jerusalem — April 2019

Rock & Roll: Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols (left) and Amos Nick Welsh in Jerusalem as part of Palestine Music Expo — April 2019

  1. Palestine Music Expo — Ramallah
    Palestine Music Expo (PMX) is an annual music industry showcase event that introduces musicians from across the West Bank and Gaza to industry professionals from around the world.

    2019 saw the third edition of PMX take place in Ramallah where I was able to show the delegates around some of our favourite places; the Old City of Jerusalem (with Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols, above), Hebron and of course, Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem.


  2. Gaza visit
    Visiting Gaza is such a privilege. My second visit to the besieged Strip in August was a planning trip for our upcoming Ahlan Gaza project. I also spent some time with our incredible partners in Gaza City, Al Ahli Arab Hospital and NECC Vocational Training Centre.

  3. Ottolenghi fundraising dinner
    The annual Amos/Ottolenghi fundraising dinner is always a highlight of the year. Were 
so lucky to have the opportunity to partner with Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Good people and incredible food — its such a fun night.

I think that all my highlights reflect how outward-facing Amos is and how we really love to connect and introduce new people to our work.

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