The Hallisa Development Association was established in 1985 by a group of residents of Hallisa and students that were living in the neighborhood. The basic idea was to work together through voluntary work for the improvement of the physical and social conditions in this poor and neglected community.
For some years, as Hallisa joined the national ‘Neighborhood Reconstruction project’, there were relatively big budgets to spend through the official channels, and the main role of the local activists was to supervise and influence the project through participation in its steering committee and through public struggle. Now, as the project is being phased out, the role of local initiative and locally controlled programs is highlighted again.
Till this day, the HDA is the local address for Hallisa residents for volunteer work. It cooperates with the local representative Neighborhood Committee, as well as with broader NGOs, to create social change through common work for the neighborhood.
Club and Kindergarten
At the time that the association was established, basic services were missing in Hallisa. There was no place for social activity and informal education. This neglect contributed to the spread of drugs among the youth, and hence to criminal activity. Formal education started at the age of 5 years. Most of Hallisa’s kids would start at this age with accumulated educational deprivation, due to their parents’ disability to give them the necessary starting essentials.
The association received a grant from ‘The New Israel Fund’ and acquired a big apartment at Raziel 13 (by protected tenancy) to be used as a Club. The club was repaired and operated by the association’s volunteers. Through 20 years of operation the club was always open to all kinds of activities in the service of the neighborhoods residents. According to available volunteers and to local needs it was used as a center for helping the children with their homework, for informal education, as medical advice center, four anti-addiction groups and much more. Lately, in summer 2004, the club building had a make-up by volunteer work with the cooperation of Ta’ayush volunteers. Currently it is operated in cooperation with the Haifa municipality’s welfare department.
With another grant from the “Ta’awun” association from Switzerland, the HDA acquired (also as protected tenant) an apartment in 10 Gush Etzion Lane to be used as kindergarten. For 10 years the kindergarten was operated by 2 hired teachers, for children at the ages 3-5, which had no other educational option. In the 90’s, as the neighborhood entered the government’s ‘reconstruction project’, more budgets became available and other kindergartens were built. In cooperation with the reconstruction project, the HDA’s kindergarten continued to operate for five more years for children aged 2-3 years. Then suddenly the municipality declared the building to be ‘inappropriate’, moved the kindergarten with the teachers and the kids to another location, where it was later closed altogether.
In many volunteer work days social solidarity was enhanced, along with material achievements. One such achievement is the constructions of stairs that go from Raziel street to the local elementary ‘Abed al-Rahman al-Haj' school. Previously the neighborhood's children had to walk to school on the bare rocky ground. On the trace of the kids’ foot, the association volunteers built the stairs.
Other major events were the summer camps, in which Hallisa Youth worked as volunteers to make summer activities for the local kids.
The Hallisa development association is constant address for volunteer work for the common benefit of the local people. It supports the local residents’ organization for defense of their rights in the form of local neighborhood committee. It organizes volunteer work camps, the latest of which were two weeks of volunteer work with local volunteers and foreign guests organized with “Baladna” association in August 2002, and 2 days of volunteer work camp organized with “Ta’ayush” in August 2004.
These volunteer camps included both physical repairs, painting of public walls, as well as social events and activities for local kids.