Campaign successfully funded on: 06 Sep,2017
In 2012, Mohamad Zwahra created Almasra Press News Network, which aims to disseminate news, pictures and the reports from the village.
The village of Almasra until now has been marginalized in the media, and the aim of the network is to film images, writing reports, shooting videos and to create movie with two aims: to recreate a vibrant community around culture and good information and to inform journalists and reporters about what is happening to the village and the area.
This campaign aims to gather the basic resources to develop Almasra Press News Network: a room, a laptop, two cameras, and many volunteers who are thirsty of the truth that images and videos capture and narrate us.
Sometimes we do not know how to read reality, sometimes our daily life does not bring the world inside our home, it does not bring our home to the world: Almasra Press News Network wants to do this!
APNN wants to create a community of critical readers, to investigate reality, to learn how to know the reality around us and, above all, through the images and the media, to connect our community to the world.
To know will be our instrument, culture will be our voice.
Al-Ma’sara is a Palestinian village located 13 Km south of Bethlehem City and 22 km north of Hebron, with about 900 residents (of which ±50% are youth aged between 6 and 18).
The name Al Ma’sara dates back to Roman times and means mill of the press, in reference to the natural rocks used to press grapes and olives. The majority of the village income is sourced from agriculture, including sheep and goat farming, and in particular, harvests of grapes, olives, and seasonal vegetables.
The inhabitants of Alma’sara, who made the choice of nonviolence resistance against the occupation, know that their children will be able to reach peace with knowledge, culture, the cultivation of their potentialities and resources.
We believe in the prosperity and development in the Palestinian society. Education and technology are our tools, as well as sharing culture and knowledge with other societies all over the world to have better access to positive modernizations.
Al Shmoah Cultural Center started its activities in 2001 as cultural center but acted also as first clinic of the area, with awareness courses on health of men and women, as aggregation center, serving as center for gathering food and clothes for the poorest in the community, as place of formation and recreation for youth and students (chess club, language school, internet access for students and inhabitants of the villages). The center has four goals to improve the life of the surrounding villages: Health, Information, Education, Recreation
Al-Shmoh Cultural Center serves now 10 villages on the southern outskirts of Bethlehem District. Al-Shmoh Center is located in the central village of Al-Mas'ara. Its history
The region of these 10 villages has always lacked basic services. But the basic service of education and culture for all has been too fundamental for some villagers to remain passive. In May 2001 Al-Shmoh's founding members responded to this essential need buying 10 computers and renting the floor of a house in a nearby village. When the doors opened, high-school and college students began to trickle in and word spread that young people no longer had to travel to Bethlehem to use a computer or access the Internet. The next month, 20 students signed up for courses in math, Arabic, English, and French. Today, 16 years later, Al-Shmoh students learn a range of subjects, their courses are taught by university-educated volunteers. But the good will and enthusiasm that the center has generated is not enough to sustain Al-Shmoh and its students.
The center needs more chairs, tables and books; the teachers need a photocopy machine, paper, pens and pencils. These resources are maddeningly hard for local people to get. The 10 villages, that Al-Shmoh serves, lie on the periphery of both Bethlehem and Hebron, so few local politicians think of these villages first. In addition, the Israeli occupation keeps villagers from leaving the area. It was this situation that made Al-Shmoh necessary, but it continues to make our work hard and our resources scarce. Even the computers we have, we do not yet fully own and last year's rent remains unpaid. The will and skill are here, but we need basic materials
In Arabic, Al-Shmoh means "The Candles," and we see each village we serve as one candle. Like one small candle, one village alone does not provide enough energy to light the way. But when all glow brightly, the path becomes clear.
Mohamad Zwahra, 18 Years old, is from Al-Masara village, South Bethlehem, Palestine.
Mohamad has been participating in, and documenting, the life of the village for nearly a decade.
Mohamad takes photographs and writes about the nonviolent protests, the cultural activities of the area, the tradition and customs by documenting the life stories of the people of the village and the other surrounding villages. Mohamad wants to become the eye and the voice of all those who cannot give expression to their life.
To document the history and the life stories of the Palestinian people he wants to train other young volunteers so to create a team for Alma’sara Press News Network who will be able to become the common voice of the community.
Mohamad finished his high school this June and from September he will study journalism and media at Birzeit University in Ramallah.
Since 2011 he has been a volunteer in Alshmoh Cultural Center in Al-Masara village.
Mohamad’s camera has repeatedly been broken during attacks by Israeli soldiers at the weekly nonviolent protests of his village. On June 7th 2015 Israeli soldiers attacked a group of journalists at the demonstration, including Mohamad, and broke their cameras. A few weeks later on July 14th, 2015, Israeli soldiers beat Mohamad again; Israeli soldiers have tried to arrest him more than once
Since the establishment of the Alma’sara Press News Network in 2012, we have been working with very simple means. In these years we individuated some needs for developing the many possibilities of the Network.
After the destruction of Mohamad’s cameras in 2015,
Almasra Press remained with neither private camera nor laptop nor special equipment
But the network cannot die, it should be developed: nonviolent resistance teaches us daily that where there is destruction, there life should be potentiated.
To potentiate our capacities and to develop the network we decided to launch this campaign to collectively provide for our essential needs to start again:
Camera Number (2)
Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR Camera - Body Only
2. Canon EOS 6D DSLR Camera
1-Canon EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM
2-Canon EF 70-200mm f-2.8L USM
A good laptop to share photos, to do the filming and writing
- A protective shield to use in confrontations
- the booking and operation of a website
Initially we will purchase the tools and equipment detailed in the previous table.
Then we will start training a group of young people between 12-17 years old, and forming a team of volunteers for the Almasra Press, creating a first Department of Photography and dividing the volunteers into groups within the Department: a section of photography, a section of the video, and a section to free news.
We will develop the website of the network and will cover the news in English and Arabic, in addition to the Facebook page and the social networking sites.
We will organize indoor and outdoor photo exhibitions in addition to a book and a film about the village of Al-Ma'sara.
We realize these are not the simples financial times for many, even outside of Palestine, so if you can't contribute please talk about this campaign with your friends, family and any other group you take part in! Please also share it online using share tool or just by copying and pasting where possible.
And finally, know your support and funding are both very much appreciated
There are no updates for this project yet.
Mohamad Zwahra, 18 Years old, is from Al-Masara village, South Bethlehem, Palestine. Mohamad has been participating in, and documenting, the life of the village for nearly a decade. This campaign aims to gather the basic resources to develop Almasra Press…Full biography