Women of Jericho (WOJ)
The “Women of Jericho” (WOJ) project desires to empower the ladies of the city through various means in a holistic approach. Every Saturday they conduct Bible classes for ladies and their children followed by a tea time to focus on fellowship. The status of women is particularly low in Jericho, so the women who come enjoy being in an atmosphere marked by respect and love.
Several times a week the staff visit the ladies in their homes, and at other times arrange excursions for them. This is highly appreciated because many of the females have not been outside Jericho for years. The WOJ project is also about providing micro-finance opportunities. Some women make soap to sell and others purchase a goat so they can produce cheese and other product for sale. WOJ provides the ladies with the initial “raw materials,” teaches them the necessary skills for their business, and follows up with them.
Jericho is stigmatized within Palestinian society as the social and moral dump of Palestine. Rates of divorce, abuse of women and children, alcoholism, hidden prostitution, and superstition are thought to be much higher here than in other Palestinian areas.
The education and health system has been weak for a long time and is becoming weaker. The situation affects women in particular since the cultural and religious traditions give less value to them. The low level of education still hinders the awareness of equality and women’s rights. This means that many of the women we are involved with are illiterate and have a very low level of education.
WOJ address the needs that this situation causes. It is important to give the women a sense of worth and give them the possibility of doing something for themselves, such as making and selling soap.
This ministry started in 1997, but the Palestinian Bible Society was given leadership of it in 2006.