Gawilan Community Garden Appeal 2024: Help us spread the joy of gardening

Help us bring hope, connection and belonging to displaced Syrians living in Gawilan refugee camp.

We urgently need your support to help with the build and running costs of our new community garden in Gawilan.

Please help today and any donation you make will be matched

Our Gawilan community garden

Pictured, from left to right: The site in Gawilan camp before the community garden build starts; Lemon Tree Trust’s Hamid Abdullah who is project managing the build with our Gawilan garden facilitator; the finished fencing.

Following the success of our flagship community garden, Azadi, in Domiz 1 camp (pictured below), we are excited to be creating another community garden in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq – this time in Gawilan camp.  

Gawilan is home to more than 10,000 people and 2,400 families. The majority are Kurdish and from the Syrian cities of Al Hasakah and Aleppo. We have been running annual garden competitions and monthly garden awards in the camp since 2017 and added annual cooking competitions and school gardening activities in 2022.  

We’re thrilled to be expanding our gardening activities in Gawilan, creating a vibrant oasis where families can find solace, growth, and a sense of community. 

In December 2023 we began groundworks for our new community green space. The build is progressing well with fencing and gates having been installed. The next steps will be to install a cabin (for office purposes) and container (for storage) before we start building 52 raised beds for gardeners to grow fresh produce. 

We need your help with the building and running costs

All donations will be matched – please donate today and double your impact

Pictured: The flourishing Azadi community garden after its extension in 2023 – a green sanctuary we want to replicate, with your help, at the new Gawilan community garden.

How your donation will help our Gawilan community garden

🌱 £25 GBP / $30 USD could provide 1 month’s supply of compost
Help provide a healthy base and nutrients to support healthy plant growth
🫖 £50 GBP / $62 USD could provide 3 months of refreshments for our gardeners’ tea breaks
Support our gardeners to make new friends, build connection, community and belonging
💡 £80 GBP / $100 USD could help provide plumbing, electricity and maintenance for 2 weeks
Support the day to day ‘behind the scenes’ running costs
🥬 £160 GBP / $200 USD could buy a small polytunnel
Help all our gardeners produce food and flowers for their families and neighbours
🛝 £555 GBP / $700 USD could cover the cost of building a playground
Provide a safe and fun environment for children to play in
🍞 £1,750 GBP / $2,200 USD could cover the cost of building a bread oven, plus a year’s supply of flour
Enable the daily baking of bread, an important tradition and culture for Syrians, a source of sustenance and a taste of home
👩🏽 £5,720 GBP / $7,200 USD could cover staff costs for 1 year in Gawilan
Help us to provide jobs for Gawilan residents who look after the community garden and support people to grow food and flowers 

Double your impact: All donations will be matched

Meet Othman – our new Gawilan community garden manager

Othman stands in front of a digger at the new Gawilan community garden site, which is levelling the ground in preparation for the fencing, raised beds and playground to be constructed.

Pictured: Othman lends a hand at the new Gawilan community garden site where a digger levels the ground in preparation for the fencing, raised beds and playground to be constructed.

Our gardening activities in the Kurdistan Region are run for and by displaced people living in the communities we support – with Othman Qewas, pictured below, being one such person.

Othman has worked as Lemon Tree Trust’s Garden Coordinator in Gawilan camp since 2018 and has lived in Gawilan since 2015 after fleeing the war in Syria with his family.

In 2024, Othman’s role will expand to oversee the build and manage the day-to-day running of the community garden space, with support from our local team.

We chat to Othman about gardening and life in Gawilan.

Read about the produce Othman and his family enjoy growing in their home garden, Othman’s favourite flower and more…

Doubling your impact at the Gawilan community garden

Pictured, from left to right: Flowers grow in the Azadi community garden; Domiz 2 residents; a cauliflower ready for harvesting in Azadi © Britt Willoughby.

All donations between 8 April – 30 September 2024 are being kindly match funded by one of our most generous supporters.

So, if you make a donation of £50 / $62, it will be automatically matched with another £50 / $62, meaning that your gift will total £100 / $124 and could help provide 3 months of refreshments for our gardeners’ tea breaks, supporting our gardeners to make new friends, build connection, community and belonging.

How to get your donation matched 

You don’t have to do a thing. Just make a donation via JustGiving. Once our appeal closes, we’ll add up all the donations and invite our donor to fund match the total up to £40,000 / $50,000. 

Bring fresh food and flowers to hundreds of displaced people who are putting down roots in Gawilan camp

Why community gardens?

The Azadi community garden in Domiz 1 camp © Britt Willoughby

Pictured: The Azadi community garden in Domiz 1 camp © Britt Willoughby.

Community gardens help restore hope, bring beauty and build community. The simple act of gardening is a powerful tool in helping people to overcome trauma and improve mental health.  

They also significantly contribute to the local and wider environment of urban camps, bringing much-needed shade, soil improvement and greenery. And often they become the ‘hub’ for wider camp activity as they are often used as meeting spaces for other groups and NGOs operating in the camp. ​ 

In a Lemon Tree Trust community garden, you will find:   

✅ Marked beds for women and their families to grow food and flowers for their families and neighbours​

✅ Covered seating area for meeting and socialising with facilities to take tea​  

✅ Small livestock area – rabbits and chickens – for meat and eggs (fed on garden scraps and grain)​  

✅ Community bread oven​  

✅ Covered hoop houses (nursery area) for growing tender vegetables, roses and bringing on seedlings for community distribution​  

✅ Herbal tea ingredients growing area

 

Some of our gardeners in the Azadi community garden where friendships blossom

Pictured: Some of our gardeners in the Azadi community garden where friendships blossom.

Please make a donation to help us create and run the new community garden in Gawilan camp

Lemon Tree Trust’s impact

Since 2016 we have distributed more than 150,000 trees and plants to different refugee and IDP (internally displaced people) camps

These trees and plants have helped give people a sense of belonging, the ability to grow their own food and provided a better living space. They are helping to ‘green’ the bleak desolate spaces into productive microclimates.

162 winning home gardens across nine camps were awarded in our 2023 annual garden competitions – 63 more prizes than 2022

These competitions have helped build communities by creating garden spaces in refugee and IDP camps and have empowered people, especially women, to improve their home environment. 

In 2023 we expanded our flagship community garden in Domiz 1 camp, Azadi, doubling the number of raised beds from 50 to 100

The garden helps by giving women and their children a place to socialise and spend time cultivating vegetable sand herbs for their home cooking, and to distribute to vulnerable families in the camp. 

All donations will be matched – please donate today and double your impact

 

We are thrilled that elements from our 2018 RHS Chelsea show garden are being used in the new ‘repurposed’ feature garden at this year’s flower show. RHS Chelsea Repurposed will bring together elements from several show gardens dating back as far as 2010 to highlight creative ways of reusing and recycling materials in garden design. … Continued

Thank you to illustrator Linda Combi for supporting Lemon Tree Trust again in 2024. Earlier this year, Linda held an exhibition, ‘52 Postcards on the theme of Oasis’, at the Pyramid Gallery in York, UK. Proceeds from gallery and online sales during this time have been divided between Lemon Tree Trust and the UNHCR. Featured … Continued

Meet Othman Qewas: Lemon Tree Trust’s valued team member and Gawilan camp resident Our gardening activities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq are run for and by local displaced people – with Othman Qewas, our Garden Coordinator in Gawilan camp * – being one such person.  Othman is a valued member of the Lemon Tree … Continued