About US

About Us

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Playgrounds for Palestine
P.O. Box 559
Yardley, PA 19067

The Nuts and Bolts

A great deal of work and effort goes into building these playgrounds. Playgrounds that are purchased abroad are shipped and assembled using local labor. We transfer "ownership" of the equipment to a local Palestinian NGO or municipality that takes over the responsibility of maintaining the playground and providing access to all children. The land is always donated. In nearly every aspect of operations in Palestine, we rely on the generosity and dedication of ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) to help us ship the equipment, transport it on the ground, liaise with local organizations and local communities to install the playgrounds.

The Playgrounds for Palestine Team

Susan Abulhawa
is the founder of PfP. She’s a mom, a human rights activist, a political commentator and essayist, an award-winning novelist, and a biologist. Her first novel, MORNINGS IN JENIN (Bloomsbury, 2010), was a critically acclaimed international bestseller that has been translated into 26 languages. In 2012, she published a poetry collection entitled MY VOICE SOUGHT THE WIND. Her second novel, THE BLUE BETWEEN SKY AND WATER will be published in June 2015.

Jacqueline Berry
grew up in Cornwall in the UK. Before graduating from Lancaster University with a degree in Geography (Development Studies) she was fortunate enough to call Cairo, Egypt her home for 3 years. She continued her informal education as she traveled around Europe, Asia and Latin America and moved to Philadelphia shortly after with her husband. For the last 10 years she has made a career out of fair trade, but currently can be found recruiting volunteers for a non-profit organization in Philadelphia.

Betsey Piette
was born in New York and attended the State University of New York in Buffalo where she became an activist against the US war in Vietnam with anti-racist solidarity work. Betsey spent nearly 15 years as a business manager at a childcare center in Philadelphia while furthering her studies in pursuit of a certification in accounting, her current career. She is an organizer for the International Action Center in Philadelphia and a contributing writer for Workers World Paper. She has participated in international delegations to Cuba, Colombia, and Venezuela.

Karen Kovalcik
enjoys a life that is full of connections through her four childrens' schools and sports activities while enjoying activities in various church and civic groups. She is an active board-member of the Bucks County Performing Arts Center. Her involvement with Playgrounds for Palestine stems from her awareness of the plight of the children living in Palestine. Her heart has been moved to provide whatever assistance and support she and her family can secure. As a believer that change comes from the most innocent among us, children, she fully supports this charity's mission to provide a basic human right to play shown through an act of love.

Hanan Urick
is a first generation Palestinian-American. She is a mom, pharmacist, school volunteer and childrens' rights advocate. She grew up in North Jersey and holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and a PharmD from Shenandoah University. She currently resides in West Chester, Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and son. Her involvement in Playgrounds for Palestine stems from her love of children and her strong beliefs in the merits of play.

Abeer Karzoun
is a dedicated board member of Playgrounds for Palestine through her hard work during our fundraisers and beyond. She is a Palestinian-American, originally from Gaza, and in her own time she runs her own design and interior design business. She helps each year with the design and layout of PfP's annual fundraiser and brings in volunteers to assist PfP which results in consistently flawless events. Her husband, Khamis Karzoun, also helps PfP greatly with their catering services and obtaining lodging for special guests.

Bareeq Barqawi
is a Palestinian-American, first generation growing up in the US. She is originally from the town of Burqa outside of Nablus and was born in Kuwait before coming to America shortly after the Gulf War. Bareeq is a human rights activist, especially for the Palestinian cause which is close to her heart. She has worked with the American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights (AAPER), Network of Arab-American Professionals (NAAP), and Playgrounds for Palestine as a volunteer before becoming a member of the staff. She has organized a Palestinian Film Festival in Philadelphia, networkers and a gala for the Arab-American community, and has supported the arts for which she planned and organized a "Poetry, Music, Comedy Celebration" with over 100 people in attendance. She is currently completing her Masters Degree in Communication Management, specifically in Strategic and Organizational Communication. She is now the Nonprofit Administrator for PfP and helps with website management, social media outlets, event planning, and promoting the PfP mission. Her future plans are to work with NGOs and nonprofits to advocate for human rights and get her law degree in humanitarian law.

Stephanie Sena
Stephanie Sena is a professor of history at Villanova University and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her areas of specialization are Middle Eastern History, and the history of race and class in the US. In 2011 Stephanie founded SREHUP- the Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia to engage students in the work of ending chronic homelessness in Philadelphia.

Stephanie is proud to sit on the board directors of Playgrounds for Palestine, and is a staunch advocate for Palestinian rights. She loves teaching Palestinian history in her college courses.

Stephanie is also a mother of two elementary school aged children, who are being raised to embody the spirit of Tikkun Olam. When not parenting, teaching, advocating, or exercising she can be found either sleeping or reading on the beach.