HAFSA Bulletin #4

Our first AGM
First of all, a somewhat belated Happy 2012 to all our members!

On January 14th 2012 we held our first ever Annual General Meeting which was well attended, with 35 people coming to listen to our progress made during the year. We adopted the Constitution and elected a new management committee. (See below). The Chair gave a report of our first year’s activities, which were numerous and successful (chair report is attached). Our Treasurer gave her report and announced that we have 70 members, 9 new members joined at the AGM making a total of 79

Our host the Reverend Robert Chapman welcomed us in St Thomas Church Hall and thanked us for the good work we are doing. Councillor Bassam Mahfouz who also attended expressed his support for our work.

Alphonse Ryan gave a talk on his experience as a football coach in Sabastiya, which happened last November after we had a request from Sabastiya football team to send a coach. It was very popular, the children and young men benefited greatly from the coaching and were very enthusiastic to have more and now the girls would like a coach too, but for this we will need a female coach! Some Photos are on the website

Nihad who is from Nablus demonstrated how to make Knafeh, the traditional Palestinian desert which we all ate to the last crumb!

If you wish to receive the minutes of this AGM or of our committee meetings, please get in touch.

The new management committee
Chair: Andree Ryan

Vice Chair: Jean Fitzpatrick

Treasurer: Cathie Bjarnason

Secretary: Marjorie Kelly

Membership sec: Cathie Bjarnason

Press Officer/Bulletins: Conrad Bryan

Website: Simon Quin , Conrad Bryan and Brigitte Flock

Other Committee Members: Colin Lomas, Lynne Ringuet, Maream Shaw, Martin Eady

You are welcome to attend any committee meeting; the next one will be on Thursday 23th February, 7.30pm.

Subscription Renewal
Thanks to all those who have renewed their subscription at the AGM. Please can everyone else renew as soon as possible, it costs £5 for the year.

If you decide to leave us let us know so that we take you off the email list.

Visit Palestine and Sabastiya:
We have, so far, run 3 tours to Palestine; the last one was in November 2011. We are planning another one for October 2012. The visit takes us to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus and Sabastiya and lasts 10 days. We will see the situation on the ground and meet with a wide range of Palestinians as well as Israeli human right groups. Below are some feedbacks from participants:

“This was a mind-changing experience for those of us who had not been to the West Bank before. Although we were predisposed to be anti-occupation and sympathetic to the Palestinian cause before the trip, there is a huge difference between following events in the region in the news and seeing the actual situation on the ground”


“I would recommend the trip, and almost all of the visits and encounters which were arranged for us, to anyone who has not been. Before going, we were concerned about safety, but there was no point at which we felt at risk.”

If you want to know more and are thinking in joining in this October trip please get in touch

Future events
We are planning regular events for the coming year in Hanwell/Ealing. We will be showing films, organise talks/discussions and a fund raising dinner in June. More details later. Please tell us if you want to organise something to raise funds or if you have ideas for us to pursue.

Not to be missed: Thursday March 8th for International Women Day we will show a film by Lebanese film producer Nadine Labaki: “Caramel” or “Where do we go now?”. At Open Ealing, doors open 8pm, film start at 8.15pm; £5, wine, soft drinks and nibbles will be available. Open Ealing is at 113 Uxbridge Road, opposite Ealing Fire station. More details will be mailed nearer the time.

We will have stalls at Hanwell carnival in June and Brentford festival in September.

If you wish to have someone speak at any events we are happy to provide speakers to talk about HAFSA and related issues. Please let us know.

Jean F. will be going to Sabastiya this April for 4 weeks to teach English in schools and to adults.

And finally, please visit our new website which we keep improving on: www.hafsa.org.uk