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BuildPalestine: Because We Can Help Ourselves

Do you wish there was an easy way to fix a problem that you recognized in your community?
We all know that one person can’t fix everything, but one voice is enough to get the ball rolling! In Palestine, a new initiative has been taken to connect the community, with the goal to become the go-to source for those around the world who ask, “How can I help Palestine?”. BarakaBits interviewed Co-founder and CEO of BuildPalestine, Besan Abu-Joudeh, on the idea behind this startup. Keep reading to find out what BuildPalestine is all about:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and what gave you the initiative to start this project?

“I was born and raised in America and I would visit Palestine during the summers. I studied Economics with the goal of creating economic opportunity and moved here last year with a job in development. Since moving here last year, I realized that there is a huge resource just waiting to be untapped– Palestinian supporters around the world. I reached out to my friend, Ola, who is also part of the Diaspora and we got to work!”

2. What is BuildPalestine and how did it start?

“BuildPalestine is a crowdfunding platform that connects people through technology and grassroots problem-solving. This platform provides people of the Diaspora Palestinian community to come together and find solutions of issues within the community. So I spoke to my friend in Bahrain and she’s also from the Diaspora and has never been to Palestine. Then I met up with the other members of the team here in Palestine and we got together to get it started.”

3. What do you mean by grassroots problem-solving?

“Grassroots problem-solving means that solutions are raised by the people closest to the problem. For example, one of our projects is designed by ambulance workers in Gaza to address the fact that it takes ambulances a long time to reach certain locations, especially during war. They developed a network where each neighborhood has a designated individual who can help victims until the ambulance arrives. They are crowdfunding to provide these individuals with first-aid kits.”

4. What types of projects are on the platform?

“We crowdfund for projects that will have a social impact. We don’t cover personal causes or relief efforts, as there are already platforms that do this. Instead, we empower communities to find innovative solutions and build for tomorrow. We want people to know that they have a voice and if they have an idea or they see a problem that needs to be fixed, then they can come together and fix it.”

5. What does BuildPalestine need to be successful?

“We need enough awareness so that people around the world know to come to our platform when they ask, ‘How can I help Palestine?’ Our goal is to engage 12 million people on”.

6. What message would you like to get across to the people?

“As Palestinians, we cannot wait for others to help us. We need to mobilize our resources, come together as a community and build the future we want to see here.”

BuildPalestine officially launched today, the 31st of October. This initiative is a great way to support and build Palestine by empowering grassroots problem-solving. After all, we are the solution to our own problems!

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Israa Elkhatib

I was born in Palestine but raised with the fireflies in Georgia. My teenage years were spent being the Muslim nerd who was known as the bookworm of the school. That followed me back to Palestine, to develop into being the girl with the big vocabulary. I spent most of my high-school days cursing Newton for not eating that apple. My English Literature Bachelor's degree was only obtained because I'm a nerd for literature and my minor in Translation pretty much pays the bills, thank you Birzeit University.Creative writing is my passion and reading is my escape from reality into a world where everything is the way you imagine it to be.

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