2021 — the Year in Review

It was the year of semi-lockdown’s and no travelling, of virtual fundraising and rebuilding Palestinian homes but not leaving the UK. As we look ahead to 2022, we’re also going to look back at a year of more creative fundraising and appeals, of webinars and COP26, of running and cycling. This is the Amos staff team’s review of 2021.

Katie Hagley
Community Engagement and Fundraising

Katie Hagley, Amos Trust's Community Engagement Fundraiser

Running Again: Amos Trust’s Katie Hagley

  1. Run The Wall — March

    A few years ago, my husband and I road-tested a possible fundraising idea called Run The Wall — each trying to run the distance of the Israeli Separation Wall (750 km) over a set amount of time. Mark did it in ten weeks (and got very thin); I gave myself ten months but gave up defeated, admitting this would never be a popular fundraiser, so I shelved it. 

    Fast forward five years; lockdown, a cancelled Palestine Marathon and a desire to bring supporters together in solidarity with Palestinians to raise awareness about the Wall and money for a home rebuild. Suddenly, a reimagined Run The Wall made more sense. This time we would encourage supporters to run 750km between us all. Over 400 runners took part worldwide, including many Palestinians, each committing to run between 5km and 42km (a marathon). 

    We ran in our home towns, in our gardens, on our own and in groups; together, apart, listening to the same eclectic running playlist, sharing photos and messages of solidarity on a jam-packed WhatsApp channel. We ran rings around the Wall by running 3800km in total and raised £47,000 for Amos’ home rebuilding programme. We felt part of something when we needed to more than anything. 

  2. Amos Day 2021 — September 
    Being in the same room as the Amos team and some of our supporters for Amos Day was such a joy. Yes, it looked different than years gone by: smaller numbers and a cold draft as we kept the place ventilated, and lots of masks, but it was great to see people in person rather than on screen, to catch up, to say thank you and to share falafel together. 

    We also made the most of all we’d learnt during lockdown by live streaming the event and inviting our partners from around the world to share with us via Zoom interviews, including three inspirational young female climate activists from India, Nigeria and Uganda. 

    And the icing on the cake? Introducing our three new team members, Fleur, Sally and Jo. At Amos, we say We Do Hope, and I can honestly say I left Amos Day feeling inspired and hopeful. 

  3. Christmas Carol Tour and the Big Give — December
    It wasn’t easy — between Covid and visa hold-ups which meant that our special guest Abdelfattah (from Alrowwad Cultural Centre in Bethlehem) could not join us and a distinct lack of choirs — but we did it. 

    We held eight live carol evenings and one online event. It was great to be out and about, reconnecting and talking about Palestine. Luckily one of Alrowwad’s areas of work is teaching filmmaking to the young people in Aida refugee camp, so as soon as he heard that he wouldn’t be getting his visa in time, Abdelfattah and the young people quickly got on with making films about their work. The most heart-warming one was of the young people dancing flash mob-style on the rooftops of Aida. 

    Every night was different, but one thing that didn’t change was how pleased people were that we had made an effort to put on events around the country. The tour supported our Big Give Christmas Appeal for Alrowwad in Bethlehem and NECC in Gaza. Once again, we were blown away by your generosity, so thank you for joining us, be it live or online and for supporting our work this Christmas and throughout the year.

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Karin Joseph
Head of Partnerships and Gender

Karin Joseph, Head of Partnerships & Gender at Amos Trust

Glasgow & Gaza: Amos Trusts Karin Joseph speaking at Amos Day in London, October 2021

  1. COP26 — January

    We haven’t travelled to meet our partners for two years now, so I jumped at the chance of going as far as Glasgow for COP26 in November. Although it was colder and rainier than our usual work trips destinations tend to be, it was such a crucial few days. The conversations we had, the stories we heard and the people we met helped us shape the plans for the next few years of climate action at Amos. 

  2. A Virtual Tour of Gaza — February
    One highlight was the virtual tour of Gaza webinar we held with our partner We Are Not Numbers at the beginning of the year when we were back in a strict lockdown in the UK. It was an incredible opportunity for someone like me who has never been to Gaza to be taken through the streets and hear from the friends and family and people our tour guide met.

  3. Online
    Although nothing can replace the connections when we meet people in person, we have made the most of online working. It’s been fantastic to see our On Her Terms partners linking up with other practitioners working with girls on the streets to share their experiences and learning as part of the Consortium for Street Children’s working group. One highlight was our partner Karunalaya in India connecting with IWEI in Nigeria, sharing their experiences of combating child marriage. 

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Jill Howard-Gunasekera
Administration

Amos Trust Administrator Jill Howard-Gunasekera.

Fingers Crossed: Amos Trust Administrator Jill Howard-Gunasekera

  1. Amos Day 2021 — September

    My highlight last year was being with people again on Amos Day. It was lovely to meet our new team members in person and to see some of our supporters again.

    It was great to listen to the recorded interviews with the young women climate activists and to hear about the challenges they face and the hope they have.

  2. Amos Climate Awards
    I'm really looking forward to the Amos Climate Awards pilot project that we will be running this year (more on that very soon) — and hearing more about Dieudonne and Teddy from New Generation Burundi, and Sami from Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem, who we hope will be coming to the UK (fingers permanently crossed) when they will be talking about reconciliation.

    It was also good to start creating new trip web pages again!

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Nive Hall
Operations

Nive Hall, Head of Operations at Amos Trust

Still Standing: Amos Operations Manager Nive Hall

  1. Hope from the Rubble
    As I stood amongst the rubble of a freshly demolished home at the edge of a village to the West of Bethlehem with a group of Amos participants during the 2015 Bethlehem Live Festival, it was hard to see any hope for the stricken family who was now being forced to live in a tent. The location was constantly under surveillance from aggressive Israeli settlers across the valley, and the home had been demolished twice before.

    But hope is stubborn and patient.

    The home has been rebuilt in partnership with Holy Land Trust and HIRN

    It stands — and the family is dry and warm this winter.

    It stands — because a coalition of hope was activated and was able to fight a demolition order through a hostile legal system.

    It stands — because the success of Run The Wall generated most of the funds we needed for the bricks and mortar.

    It stands — because the family’s roots are so deep in that piece of land that they could not be removed.

    It stands — because hope is stubborn and patient.

    We weren’t able to physically take part in this rebuilding project. But, in many ways, it is the most remarkable of them all.

  2. A Delightful Prospect 
    Maybe I only had half an Amos hat on at the Prospect Farm camping week at the end of the summer, but it definitely counts as a highlight. It was as simple as seeing and catching up with so many Amos friends in real life.

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Chris Rose
Director

Amos Trust Director Chris Rose.

Running & Riding: Amos Trust Director Chris Rose

  1. Amos Road Club Rides Again — October
    Joining the departure of the Big Ride for Palestine in July was a great day out, but it was seeing old and new friends in October when the Amos Road Club rode again that was the real highlight. We had a weekend in Stratford upon Avon cycling through the Cotswolds — and the luxury of a Premier Inn (opposed to the youth hostels). Again, a fantastic group of new riders joined the seasoned Road Club members.

    The main Saturday ride was freezing cold and really wet through staggeringly beautiful countryside. Nive’s family had organised a fantastic picnic lunch for us, huddling under a gazebo. There were dozens of conversations, lots of laughter, and a fair amount of cursing throughout the day as we went up yet another hill.

    Unfortunately, the joy of the ride was also tinged with sadness as one of the ride’s founders and regular participants, Adrian Reith, was too ill to join us (he very sadly died shortly after the ride). He, together with others who could not make it were hugely missed. This year, if Covid allows, we will be heading off to Belgium in May for a combination of cobbles, beers and great company. All are welcome.

  2. Chasing Down to the Marathon — October
    On the same weekend as the Road Club ride was the London Marathon. It
    is always a great day out, but it was really special for us this year. Five
    weeks before the Marathon, we were asked if we could use any additional
    places.

    So step forward, Harry Baker, who ran it... dressed as a Falafel spoon (long story). Diala Isid joined him, the first Palestinian woman from our friends at Right To Movement to run the London Marathon, as did Bob Mayo, who, despite hanging up his marathon shoes a couple of years ago, was up for one last run. Jack Rose (my son) joined our friend Holly Berry from Devon, who was originally due to be running for us in April 2020.

    They all smashed it. Jack was particularly quick, but most importantly, they raised so much desperately needed but unexpected money for our partners. Harry’s fundraising pages went wild after BBC Radio DJ Chris Evans picked up on his costume, and Harry released this diss track in response. Thank you so much to all this year fantastic runners.

  3. The Delta Variant sweeps across India
    Covid could never be described as a highlight of the year, and the
    devastating impact of the Delta variant in India was heartbreaking. Over the last two years, the responses from our partners to Covid have been awe-inspiring, but the reaction of Paul and the team from Karunalaya to Delta left us lost for words.

    As long queues of ambulances formed outside Chennai’s hospitals, they realised that those waiting to be treated and those who were assisting (many Indian hospitals rely on patients having someone to accompany them to take care of their basic needs) and the ambulance crews had no access to any food and water.

    So Karunalaya set up mobile kitchens outside the hospitals (at great risk to their own health as they only had very basic PPE), yet in Paul’s words, “What else could we do when we saw such need?” They soon provided over 1,000 meal packs a day at three hospitals and did so for 23 days until the situation had stabilised.

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Nick Welsh
Digital, Design and Communications

Nick Welsh, Head of Digital, Design & Communications at Amos Trust

When words fail, art speaks: Nick Welsh, Head of Communications

  1. Run The Wall — March
    The aim of our Run The Wall fundraiser back in March was to remember the human cost of the illegal Israeli Separation Wall. We wanted to run the entire length of the Wall, some 750 km, demanding freedom of movement for Palestinians.


    We were joined by individuals and teams from 18 countries worldwide and ended up running over 3,800km, raising awareness and an incredible £47,000 (our target was £15,000) to rebuild a demolished Palestinian home. It was one of those projects which literally over-took us as our Run The Wall runners kept clocking up the miles, setting our social media channels alight as they went.

    We’re doing it all again this year across 11th/12th March if you would like to join us. More details coming soon.

  2. On Location — October
    When words fail, art speaks. Launched in October 2021, On Location is our project showcasing some of the leading visual artists in Gaza to the broader international community by exploring their motivations and frustrations and the realities of being an artist in Gaza.

    Working with curator James Walmsley in Manchester and artist Shareef Sarhan in Gaza, we chose eight artists, four women and four men, to exhibit their work online. We’re hoping to add more artists in the coming months and, if possible, hold a proper ‘in-real-life’ exhibition in the UK. In the meantime, you can see the online exhibition at amostrust.org/on-location

  3. New Team members
    And then there were nine! Three new team members joined us in 2021 — Research Intern Fleur Boya and Community Fundraisers Sally Azzam Cook and Jo Bushell.

    John Lennon always said that when guest musicians joined The Beatles in the studio, it made the rest of them play (and behave) better. Fleur, Sally and Jo are already shaking things up nicely, bringing new ideas and fresh perspectives to the proceedings... and very much keeping the rest of us on our toes.

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Fleur Boya
Research Intern

Fleur Boya, Amos Trust's Research Intern

A Deep Understanding: Amos Research Intern Fleur Boya 

  1. Joining the Amos Team — September
    Since joining the team, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of climate justice and the needs of the rural communities that are the most affected by climate change.

  2. Amos Day — October
    It was exciting to meet the Amos supporters for the first time and get to know them and how they came to support Amos.

  3. Going to COP26 — November
    I met young female climate activists from Uganda, Kenya, and the Philippines while in Glasgow. It was inspiring to see so many young women from rural parts of the countries most affected by climate change take centre stage and share the issues they face with each other and the leaders of the world.

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Sally Azzam Cook
Community Engagement and Fundraising

Sally Azzam Cook, Amos Trust's Community Engagement Fundraiser

New Beginnings: Sally Azzam Cook from Nazareth speaking at Amos Day in London last October

  1. The Beginning — September

    I started work for Amos in the last few months of 2021 and found it hard to select just one or two events as highlights — the whole experience has left me feeling hopeful and grateful. The first highlight was having Katie, Chris, and Nive visit my family’s new home in Bristol to discuss what I would be doing.

    It was a summer day and we sat in the garden nibbling Palestinian food while chatting and catching up on the past two years, during which time we had not been able to meet. I was multi-tasking, uploading my fundraising page for my first 10K run for Amos’ Women 4 Women campaign. Thank you, Katie, for pushing me to get fit!

  2. Trustee meeting — November
    My second highlight was the joint trustee/staff meeting. It was the chance to meet the people who are supporting our work. We talked about exciting new projects such as the Climate Awards pilot (more on that very soon). We had a falafel lunch that reminded me of home, despite Chris ruining the experience a little by suggesting that Bethlehem falafel was better.

    I was so carried away that I nearly missed my return train to Bristol. Luckily Katie came to the rescue, forcing me out of the door, while Madaleine, who was already at the station, called to let me know ahead of time my platform number. I made the train with seconds to spare.

  3. Christmas Tour — December
    The third highlight was the Amos Christmas carol tour, which taught me about the resilience of our team. Covid sabotaged our original plans early on, but we pulled together and ended up with a beautiful tour. There was a marvellous team spirit, as people covered for those who were absent.

    The tour also showed me how much love our supporters have for our work — that warmed my heart, especially at our first carol event in snowy Manchester. It all worked like magic, which was a great ending to the year. We cracked it, team! Thank you for 2021.

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Jo Bushell
Community Engagement and Fundraising

Community Fundraiser, Jo Bushell

Baptism of Fire: Our second new Community Engagement Fundraiser, Jo Bushell

  1. Amos Day  October

    It was a real baptism of fire when I presented at Amos Day in October as I’d only been in post a few days. Not only did I get to see a complete overview of the projects Amos supports through the programme of short films and hear such powerful stories, but it helped me to immediately understand what incredible long-term support there is from so many committed supporters who’d travelled to London for the day. 

    I was significantly impacted by the coffee-break conversations I had with individuals who had been on Amos home rebuild trips year after year and how they carried such a deep hope and love for the communities they had visited in Palestine. I was also impressed by the constant rhetoric I heard about how lucky I was to be part of such an incredible team of people. I only hope I can live up to this!

  2. COP26  November
    It was an incredible honour to meet face-to-face with female climate activists from the Global South and to hear their stories first-hand at the alternative counter-events for climate activists at COP26 in November.

    I joined Karin and Fleur on the trip to Glasgow to meet young women, listen deeply to how climate change is affecting their communities, and understand how we can facilitate a way forward for them in the work that they are doing.

    I was so impacted by the clear message that they brought that we need to understand the urgency in targeting the fossil fuel industry for its dominant part in driving up global warming. I drew hope and inspiration from the relationships and solidarity between young activists in the Global South and the courage I witnessed in them coming so far from their communities, against the odds, to get their message across.

    One of the phrases I will come away with is that we, in the Global North, are privileged even to be talking about ‘the future’ when communities in the South are just surviving each day.

  3. Bristol Christmas Carol Event — December
    This truly was a beautifully intimate and meaningful event, but sadly, we couldn’t be joined by my new team-mate, Sally Azzam Cook, who was due to speak having just relocated to Bristol from Nazareth.

    Despite her absence, there was such a wealth of creative content and an incredibly talented student University Choir from St Paul’s, Clifton, that raised the roof that evening!

    Members of Amos Road Club joined us, as did others who had previously been on Amos trips to Palestine, by the wonderfully-welcoming resident community from Cotham Parish Church who was hosting us and members of local Palestine solidarity groups. It was a warm and enthusiastic atmosphere with a real sense of solidarity with the communities of young people in Bethlehem and Gaza.

    That night, the wealth of creative talent was tangible with Bristol-based Palestinian poet Allisar Amali reading her work, Louise Maynard and Souffian Saihi reciting poetry with accompanying L’Oude. It was an evening to remember for sure.

    A poignant moment for me was when one of our readers’ voices broke as he barely managed to hold it together whilst finishing his reading as his thoughts cast back to when he’d witnessed the difficulties for young people he’d met whilst in Bethlehem. The whole event felt like such an authentic and soulful expression of our solidarity with Palestinian youth.

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To stay in touch with all campaigns and projects throughout 2022, simply sign up to receive Amos Trust’s E-news which will keep you updated about our work in Palestine, our On Her Terms campaign for girls and young women on the streets and our Climate Justice work in Nicaragua.

 




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Amos Trust
St Clement’s
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EC4N 7HB
United Kingdom

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