The third annual African Culture Night, held in conjunction with the Abraham Hostel and the African Hebrews of Dimona, was the Jerusalem African Community Center’s most anticipated event of the year and was a huge success.
In addition to being a wonderful cross-cultural celebration, the event was designed to provide insight for Jerusalemites into the lives and culture of the 2,000 African asylum seekers and refugees living in Jerusalem, many of whom face severe difficulties in their daily lives.
According to Or Mor, Board Member at JACC, “Some residents of Jerusalem don’t know and have never met anyone from the African community in the city, and those who have met someone from this community know nothing of their culture. This is an opportunity to form a connection with them and to advance dialogue and good neighborly relations.”
The community was so pleased to host over 350 people.
The evening began with live music and African dance from the dance band Utopian Theater. By the end of the event, many of the guests were dancing themselves.
Members of the community provided delicious food for the event, most notably, injera.
Nathalie Hecker, a volunteer who teaches English classes at JACC, is one of the many people who claim the event was the party of the year.
“I'm so proud of my students,” she said. “I had so much fun with them and with the other volunteers. It was the best party that I've been to all year.”
Members of the JACC community are very grateful to have such a strong relationship with the Abraham Hostel, which has been providing work and housing to asylum seekers in need for the past several years.
Lee Caspi, the hostel’s bar and event manager who has taught Hebrew at JACC, says that African Culture Night is her favorite event to be part of.
“It's always fun and moving to see a community come together like that,” she explained. "I organize a lot of events with a lot of different people, but the African culture night is the only one where everyone comes together to make food, put up decorations, look after the children and also get down and boogie."
This fundraising event was a morale and financial boost for the the center, which is facing a financial shortfall.
JACC receives no funding from the city of Jerusalem or any other governmental institution.
As a result, the center relies solely on individual donations and donations from churches and the United Nations Refugee Agency.
Due to lack of funding, the center is faced with the threat of closing and halting its much needed activities and support.
JACC is striving to keep its doors open in order to continue providing services to asylum seekers in Jerusalem, including support for single mothers and children.
Please consider donating to the JACC crowdfunding campaign, which will allow JACC to continue to provide Hebrew and English language lessons for adults, a tutoring program for children, as well as humanitarian, psychological and social aid, as well as rights awareness, mediation, and support.
The members of our community are all grateful for a night of fun, culture and community building.
Board member Ariella Leah Cwikel couldn’t have said it better:
“It was great to have a chance to just have fun together, and celebrate all that we do at the JACC.”
We’re already looking forward to next year!