Long-term Bahrain expats Jennifer Sale and Kirsti Shaheen, both young mothers, saw over the years of living on the island that some of their Bahraini sisters were facing difficulties when caring for their own children. At the time, it was common for companies and groups only to hand out cash donations to people in need. But Sale and Shaheen wanted to offer something more practical, such a box of dry goods, on a monthly basis. Through the support of the late, great philanthropist Sheikha Lulwa bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, founder of the Mother and Child Welfare Society, as well as a donation from Batelco, The Palm Association was born. Now, 15 years on, volunteer Maria Sorger tells us about the charity’s biggest achievements and notable projects so far...
Feed A Family
The cornerstone of the association is this programme, which sees the distribution of food parcels to the value of BD20 every month to impoverished families, which have been identified by the charity’s trusted community contacts. When it was first set up, the project helped 15 families. Now 155 families benefit every month.
Some families need more than just food, Sale and Shaheen soon realised. Therefore, it was a natural progression for the association to begin assisting in the refurbishment and renovation of these families’ most basic facilities. So far, 7,000 appliances have also been delivered to homes all over Bahrain.
In 2009, The Palm Association was approached by a corporate investment company to offer guidance and support to 15 students studying medicine, nursing and midwifery at the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland in Bahrain. Most of these students have now graduated and found jobs.
Salmaniya play room
The group also oversaw the opening of a play room at the Haematology Day Care unit at Salmaniya Medical Complex. It’s manned seven days a week by a person on behalf of The Palm Association, and toys, books and electronics are always available for the children to play with.
Visit www.thepalmassociation.com to find out how you can help.