HAFSA Bulletin – August 2015

News from Sabastiya

An unusual heatwave has hit Palestine since the beginning of August with temperatures reaching 40C. People are struggling to keep cool. There are few tourists visiting at the moment.

A group of us visited Sabastiya in the spring. We found the Al Kayed Guest House (which HAFSA has supported) busy and increasingly popular with tourists. We found the usual wonderful hospitality, nothing was too much trouble for Abu Yasser, his wife Samah and the team. It continues to receive great feedback and has maintained a 5-star rating on Trip Advisor.

The Women’s Union have tentatively started soap-making using the material we bought for them and everything they have produced so far has been sold.

We are still waiting to hear more details regarding the feasibility of setting up a bee project in Sabastiya and considering other ventures.

Back in Hanwell…

Here in Hanwell, we have had a few successful fund-raising events, a big thank you to all who helped in baking cakes, cooking food, donating stuff, helping on stalls and attending events

The Bubbles and Bees social at Jean and Colin’s in June was great fun raising £675.50

In addition, we raised a total of £115 at the film evening in May.

Hanwell carnival was a busy and successful event that raised our profile, and brought in £309.50, from sale of cakes, lemonade, books and CDs

Colin Lomas’s excellent talk on, The Golden Age of Islam, in July raised £110

Upcoming Events

Brentford Festival

Our next event is the Brentford Festival on Sunday September 6, 2015 in Blondin Park, W5 – entrance via Boston Manor Road, not far from Boston Manor Tube station. This event is usually very well-attended. We will be having our usual stall, do come and support HAFSA.

We are looking to sell books, jewellery, crafts, CDs and DVDs, so any of those are welcome. Please bring to the stall on the day, or drop off at  Marjorie’s, 5 Cardiff Road, W7 – her contact details are: email: moc.l1582533888iamg@1582533888605131582533888yllek1582533888jm1582533888 or phone her on: 0208 567 8655.

Ealing Palestine Festival 2015 27-29th Nov.​

A group of us is organising this Festival to mark the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November, 29, 2015.

We are plan a musical evening in Ealing Town Hall on Friday November, 27; readings from Palestinian books and poetry recitals at the Drayton Bridge Hotel, W13, on Saturday November, 28 (afternoon and evening); other events are being planned for Sunday 29th November: a Palestinian breakfast and more… details to follow.  Please put these dates in your diaries!

Lavender and Beads

Member Gillian Brown is organising making lavender bags and jewellery, always top sellers. If you have a lavender bush, we would be grateful if you could harvest it (now is the time, on a dry day) cut the seed heads off the stalks as soon as you pick it  and  lay  on a sheet  to dry out. They have to remain aired while drying or else they rot.

Also, if you have any beads or old jewellery you do not want anymore, please keep for Gillian.

Use the Contact Us page to be put in touch with Gillian to arrange collection.

Visit Palestine:

We will be organising our usual spring visit to Sabastiya and the West Bank for 2016. More details to come at a later date.

Should you wish to go earlier, Zaytoun are running their usual harvest tour in October 2015 (11th to 17th) The tour spends 3 nights in Sabastiya.

HAFSA Social-Bubbles and Bees!

Saturday 6th June from 7pm till late!


Delicious food, quiz, raffle, bar, friends, music and poems, Palestinian products on sale


Entrance is £10, this is one of our major fund raiser. We are raising money to buy hives for Sabastiya. We already helped women set up a small soap production.


Bring your own poem on the theme of bees and/or soap. A price for the one we like best. And feel free to come dressed appropriately


Please let us know you are coming, so we cook even more food, by emailing Andree  *protected email*

Mini Bulletin – Winter 2015

The winter bulletin will be out soon. In the meantime here is a mini-bulletin with our latest news!

Our AGM was on the 5th January and was highly successful on both the administrative and social fronts. The committee was appointed, our progress in 2014 and future projects were discussed, and we heard from we several interesting speakers. You can read more in Monika’s report.

At our first committee meeting after the AGM, we appointed officers and co-opted two new members to the committee. Our members have been emailed the full list of new officers.

So now business has been attended to, what’s on our radar for 2015?

Our next project in Sabastiya is to help a women’s group set up a micro production of olive oil soap infused with local herbs and flowers

Our next events will be the Spring Social at Jean and Colin’s on Saturday 6th June 7pm, and a stall at the Hanwell carnival on Saturday June 20th, more details soon.

Any member is welcome to attend our committee meetings, here are the dates for 2015.
12 April Sunday at 7:00 pm
8 June Monday at 12:30pm
9 August Sunday 7pm
9 October Friday 10.30am
30 Nov Monday 12.30pm

Please contact Andree if you want to come so she can email you the venue. If you would like to join HAFSA, please do get in touch!

AGM Report

Once again we managed to make our AGM an informative and social event, rather than a typical tedious bureaucratic affair. Sadly Andree, our chair, was not well but she had prepared a slide show which Jean our vice chair presented.
The pictures reminded us of the events we had witnessed throughout the year in Sabastiya. In the spring two young football coaches from Brentford Football Club travelled to the West Bank and were treated like celebrities by the Palestinian football fans. This is a joint project with Hounslow Ramallah Twinning Association. We then spent several weeks worrying about the Israelis taking over the extensive ruins area, but eventually the contractors left. Whether this was due to our protests is not clear. The big project of the year was the hens and cockerels that HAFSA paid for. By now the roughly 400 hens have produced chicks and will keep providing eggs for many needy families.
Cathie our treasurer reported on our best year of fundraising so far with nearly £6000 raised in donations, a couple of socials including our ‘Hen Party’ and stalls at the Hanwell Carnival and Brentford Festival. HAFSA produced a range of greeting cards to raise funds. Some money was spent on Eid presents for poor families, the most of our money was spent on hens and cockerels, leaving a balance of over £2000.
Abu Yasser joined us from Sabastiya via Skype for most of the AGM.
After a refreshment break we were lucky to have several informative speakers. First up was Sir Vincent Fean, recent British Consul in Jerusalem, who emphasised the importance of visits to Palestine to let the Palestinians know that they are not forgotten. There are plenty of opportunities for schools to set up links with Palestinian schools. Vincent also encouraged us to raise Palestine in the election campaign and there was some thought provoking discussion where not everybody agreed with his idea of a two state solution with land swap to take account of the facts created by Israel’s illegal settlements.
Eleanor Tomlinson and John McGlone were part of the Zaytoun tour in the autumn. Some of their friends thought they were mad, wanting to spend their holiday in what they considered a war zone, but both encouraged others to visit and experience the hospitality provided by the Palestinians in the West Bank. They arrived a bit late for the olive harvest, but a tree had been kept for them so they could try their hand at picking olives.
Last but not least spoke Stephen Bell, a trade unionist who has campaigned on Palestine for over 40 years. He reported on how impressed he is with the resilience of the Palestinians, both in the West Bank and Gaza, where they for example have developed a new type of cement that will allow rebuilding while the blockade goes on. The discussion raised the one sided reporting in the media; occasionally pressure put on the BBC has led to changes. Likewise it was raised that some tours to Israel just show the Israeli side even when a brief visit to the ‘dangerous’ West Bank is included. We know that the Palestinians welcome visitors and are keen to tell their story.
Monika Eady

Hanwell Friends of Sabastiya Bulletin 9 Autumn 2014

hafsa_eggsWe hope you all had a good summer. It was not so good for Gaza or the West Bank, where the oppression by the Israeli army and the aggression from the illegal settlers increased greatly. In Sabastiya things were quieter, although two young men were shot at a demonstration in support of Gaza organised by the villagers. Both were admitted to hospital but are now back home.
hafsa_hens2Our main project in 2014, populating Sabastiya with hens and cockerels, was a great success. With your help, we managed to buy 420 hens and 30 cockerels for 84 families. Although around 20 died, many have produced chicks.
Projects that help Palestinians to become self-reliant are much appreciated and we will be looking for a new project for 2015. One suggestion is to find a way to recycle household waste water (grey water) to feed the vegetable gardens. Andree will be spending three weeks in Sabastiya this November and will investigate cost and implementation. If anyone has any good suggestions regarding this, please email us – we could do with some expert knowledge!


The Gaza situation has badly affected the tourist trade, which has fallen by 60% throughout Palestine. The Al Kayed Guest House, which we have supported, has had many cancellations well into the autumn. This is a problem for the family running it, as they still have to pay rent. Andree still hopes to be able to take the Zaytoun Harvest Tour group to stay there in November.
Spring 2014 saw us leading the Twinning Network tour. We visited Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, the villages of Bil’in, Burqa and Faquoua, Nablus and, of course, Sabastiya – where we stayed for three days and witnessed the invasion by an Israeli construction company taking over the ruins areas to develop them into an Israeli-run tourist attraction. The villagers protested, we lobbied our MP and wrote to the British Consul in Jerusalem for clarification as to what was going on. At present, the work has halted, but it is not clear to anyone, including the Mayor, what will happen next. The villagers are forbidden by Israel from developing the area themselves because the ruins are situated in Area C (as per the Oslo agreements of 1992) which they control. We are keeping an eye on developments.

hafsa_footballTwo Brentford FC football coaches joined us in Sabastiya (left) after coaching the Palestinian Olympic team and football teams in the refugee camp of Al Bireh/Ramallah. This project was organised jointly between us and the Hounslow Ramallah Twinning Association. We hope to develop strong links with Brentford FC who are quite supportive. The coaches, Ryan and Josh, got a great welcome in Sabastiya where they coached the school team and the young Sabastiya team. They were two great lads who communicated with everyone and were keen to learn more about Palestine.

In Summer we had our usual stalls at theHanwell Carnival and Brentford Festival, selling cakes, books, lavender bags, Zaytoun fair-traded Palestinian products and raising our profile.
This year’s Ramadan celebrations were dire because of the Gaza situation, but it is hoped that the next Eid on 5th October will be more festive. Last year during Ramadan we provided food parcels for 50 poor families. This year we have decided to buy shoes for the 20 disabled children and adults in the village who are largely from poor families. Eid is a time when people buy new clothes, etc. The cost of this project will be £370. This may be not very sustainable, however, as with the Ramadan parcels, it will be greatly appreciated by the recipients.

HAFSA Xmas cards

These cards have now been printed and are ready to go!

hafsacards2 hafsacards3hafsacards
The “O little tree of Bethlehem” card, designed by an artist friend, will be on sale at a cost of £1.50 each, or pack of 5 for £6
The “Three Wise Sheep” and “Greetings from Palestine” (featuring 3 girls holding stars) photographic cards will be sold in packs of four at £4 (2 of each).

Forthcoming Events

As ever, we have plenty going on!

Last Saturday of Sept, Oct and Nov 2014
11-3pm: we will have a stall at the Fox pub market (Green Lane W7)
Tuesday 30th September
An evening meal at a local Middle Eastern restaurant. Venue TBC, as we are still negotiating with restaurants.
Saturday 18th October
Autumn Feast: food, quiz, raffle and more – please support and bring others, this is one of our main fundraisers.
Venue: Jean and Colin’s, 109 Southdown Avenue W7 from 6.30pm onwards. Entrance £10.
Booking essential for catering purpose with Jean: 020 8933 0004 or email:ku.oc1582533888.liam1582533888toh@n1582533888irrep1582533888ztifn1582533888aej1582533888
Sunday 7th December
Abu Santa’s Grotto, from 2pm-6pm. High tea (cucumber sandwiches, delicious homemade cakes, scones and more!) provided plus the chance to buy new and nearly new goods at very reduced prices. If you have, or can get hold of, items in good condition or, even better, unused, please donate for this event.
Venue: Andree’s, 93 Oaklands Road, Hanwell W7 2DT (020 8567 3446). Entrance £2.
AGM – Saturday 17th January 2015
HAFSA AGM- 3pm to 6pm, at St Thomas Church, Boston Road. Programme to be announced at a later date.
Silent Vigil
One of our member has taken the initiative to start a silent vigil for Gaza and Palestine every Saturday 12 to 1pm, outside Sainsbury’s (to the left of the library), in West Ealing. Please bring your own message/poster, or just come along for all or part of the time.
Spring 2015
We hope to organise another tour of the West Bank and Sabastiya. If you are interested or would like to chat about it, please email Andreemoc.o1582533888ohay@1582533888eltru1582533888ttrop1582533888yat1582533888 or phone 0208 567 3446
Upcoming Committee Meetings

Members are always welcome to attend – please email us if you wish to do so (moc.o1582533888ohay@1582533888eltru1582533888ttrop1582533888yat1582533888) and we will provide the address. The dates are:

Thursday 2nd October and Thursday 27th November, 2014, at 7.30pm
HAFSA is online!

hafsa_facebookWe now have a Facebook group – you can join at:

Its Hanwell carnival time!


Its Hanwell carnival time!
Saturday 21st June, 12-6pm, Elthorne Park, Boston road W7
As usual we will have a stall to raise our profile and also to fund raise: we will sell cakes and books
Sale of cup cakes or any home made cakes is very popular and so are books,  if you can donate either please bring on the day or drop at Lynn’s .You can phone her to arrange delivery on:07840400429
In any case please come and visit the stall and help out if you can

Update on Hen Project

Hen and Cockerel Party

Painting eggs at the Hen and Cockerel Party

We raised a fantastic total of £775.50 at our Hen and Cockerel Party – which included contributions sent by members/supporters who were unable to attend.

Many thanks and well done to all helpers on making it such an enjoyable and successful evening.

Special thanks to Monika and Martin for providing the venue and allowing us to ‘take over’ their home.

In addition, we have received:
a donation of £61 from the drop-in club at St. Thomas’ Church, Hanwell,
£110 from Quakers in Ealing and
£100 from supporters in Scotland (Dundee)

So that’s a final total of: £1,036.50! We are now only £400 short of our target.

34 Sebastiya families have already received their hens and we’d like to help more families so please keep up the good work!

You can read more about the project here



Hens arrive in Sebastiya

Hens arrive in Sebastiya

Hani with one of the hens

Hani with one of the hens

A boy cuddling a cockerel

A boy cuddling a cockerel


Hens and Cockerels for Sabastiya

The Hen & Cockerel project was a huge success. HAFSA and the people of Sabastiya would like to thank everybody for their donations. The 400 hens that were bought for needy families are busy producing eggs and have also produced new chicks so the families can continue to count on a steady supply of fresh eggs and poultry. Read more in the Autumn 2014 Bulletin.


The first batch of hens has arrived

The first batch of hens has arrived!

About the project

Currently we are fund raising to buy 500 hens and 100 cockerels that will be distributed to poor families in Sabastiya.
We have already purchased 50 hens and 10 cockerels and the response in the village has been tremendous. We are looking forward to sampling the fresh free range eggs during our next visit in May!

How can you help?

Sunday 13 April: Hen (and Cockerel) Party!
Join us for an evening of delicious food, a quiz, singing, Easter egg hunt, raffle, bar and much more!
£10 a ticket, please book in advance as we need to know numbers for catering purposes. Book by phoning 0208 5673446 or email moc.o1582533888ohay@1582533888eltru1582533888ttrop1582533888yat1582533888
6.00pm onwards At Monika and Martin: 33 Manton Avenue Hanwell W7 2DY
Buy a hen
With our vouchers you can now buy someone a hen for Easter or any other occasion! The £10 voucher will go directly to buying a hen and having that hen delivered to a needy family in Sabastiya.
Order from Andree 0208 5673446 or email:  *protected email*
hen voucher

Hen voucher


Trip to Palestine and Sabastiya this Spring, starting 9th May ending 17th May 2014

We will be running a trip to Palestine and Sabastiya this Spring, starting 9th May ending 17th May (but some will stay longer)

6 of us are traveling from Luton to Tel Aviv on Easy Jet on the 8th May (later flight, 11.20)
We have others coming from the North and Wales, we are at the moment 10
If you would like to join us please email me at *protected email* by 4th February as i need to start booking accommodation.