Dar Al-Kalima and the Fit For Life program
The Fit for Life program of Dar El-Kalima works to improve the health of marginalized women in the Bethlehem region of the West Bank and raise awareness about the importance women’s health within the Palestinian community. The unique program empowers Palestinian women to improve their own physical and mental health and gain leadership and community-empowerment skills by training them to become physical fitness trainers—a position rarely held by women in Arab society.
A total of twenty-four women from the Bethlehem district villages of Beit Fajjar, Al Walajeh and Dar Salah graduated from the program during its first year, and are in turn currently training nearly 250 women from the three villages, after undergoing intensive training in physical fitness, nutrition and women’s health, as well as women’s psychological and mental health training. The graduates received physical-trainer certificates from the Diyar Consortium and Bethlehem University, and will continue the second year of the program by leading 220 women from their local communities in women’s fitness programs.
The unique character of “Fit for Life” affords Palestinian women an important a unique opportunity to act as informed agents of change in their communities. Trainers not only help lower rates of obesity and other chronic diseases which have afflicted their families and communities, they will be positioned to influence decision makers in their villages regarding health while serving as role models for other women.
Cooperation with governmental organizations
The program has achieved notable visibility and presence in the communities that it serves, spanning various sectors and healthcare organizations. Fit for Life administrators are actively networking with private and governmental organizations in Bethlehem governorate and other districts in the West Bank, including UNRWA, health authorities, and local educational facilities, to name a few.
More about Dar El-Kalima
Beginning in 2006, the Health and Wellness Center of Dar Al-Kalima embarked on a healthy lifestyle promotion program called “Fit for Life,” funded by Healing Across the Divides. The program was developed in response to the growing number of cases of obesity related chronic diseases facing West Bank Palestinians, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. “Fit for Life” serves the health-needs of women by providing individual intervention strategies where women can join self-help fitness instruction and nutrition counseling programs.
Participants can also benefit from other services of Dar Al-Kalima’s Wellness Center, which promotes individual and community health through the establishment of community-based service facilities and programs that address health from a holistic point of view.
The Bethlehem-based Dar Al-Kalima Health and Wellness Center belongs to the DIYAR a consortium of three Lutheran based, ecumenically oriented organizations serving the Palestinian community with an emphasis on children, women and the elderly. Dar Al-Kalima’s long-standing motto is: “So that we may have Life and have it abundantly.”
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