JERUSALEM – On Friday 18, 2022, the social services department of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem organized a stress management workshop for fifteen Christian Palestinian women living in East Jerusalem.
The initiative, which took place during the afternoon, was about learning how to get rid of negative energy, how to cope with daily sources of anxiety, and how to take a step back from daily struggles and stressful situations. The overall objective was to provide the participants with ways to positively deal with stress factors.
The workshop was supervised by Ms. Rhonda Amer, a social worker who conducts workshops on various subjects for youth and women. She was assisted by Mrs. Sawsan Bitar, a local program coordinator from the Sabeel Center, and Sister Ghada Ni’meh, who works at a Rosary Sisters’ School. As for the participants, they were all Christian women from East Jerusalem who were deeply affected by the pandemic of Covid-19.
The workshop first started with a discussion about the definition of stress, during which words like “loneliness”, “expectations”, “disappointments”, “fear for others” and “self-abolition” came up. Afterward, the participants were given tools to work on ways to reduce psychological stress and to practice overcoming negative self-talk. There was also a time of spiritual sharing during which Sister Ghada shared inspirational quotes.
The feedback on the activities was very positive. “Stress and anxiety will always be part of our lives, but now we have ways to cope with it so that it won’t affect our lives negatively,” expressed one of the participants.
The workshop comes within the Women’s Empowerment Project, which started in 2020. In 2019, approximately 23% of women were in the labor market, but this figure dropped because of the pandemic of Covid-19. The project aims to empower East Jerusalem women by offering them various training activities and tools to teach them life, work-related, business development and vocational skills, as well as providing them with grants to help them start their own business.