Schoolgirls Mastermind Palestine’s First Not-For-Profit Vegan Cafeteria to Open in Jerusalem University

Submitted By: Sham Sugg | Age: 14 

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A group of Palestinian schoolgirls have embarked on an ambitious project to establish the very first not-for-profit, vegan cafeteria in Palestine. The girls are participants in the “Youth for Change” programme; a scheme which empowers young people to make positive changes for animals and the environment in their local community. The profits from the cafeteria, to be named “Sudfeh” (meaning “serendipity” in Arabic) will be split equally between animal welfare causes and scholarships for struggling students.

The group of young women, from a school near Ramallah, aspire to attend Al Quds University when they graduate high school but were concerned at the lack of animal-friendly options available in the existing food outlets on the campus. After arranging a meeting with the President of the University, it was agreed that the group would be granted a space on campus to make Sudfeh a reality. The cafeteria aims to provide healthy, animal-friendly, plant-based foods to the student population; numbering at around 13,000 young people. In addition to the generous grant of the space, the university President further committed to allowing the income from the initiative to go towards support for animal protection projects and scholarships.
The group, supported by local charity, the Palestinian Animal League, have now launched an ambitious fundraiser to be able to pay the start-up costs for the venture and have almost reached 50% of their £10,000 target after just under two weeks.

Sham Sugg is one of the members of the group. The project has given her a confidence that she did not know she had. She said: “A lot of people used to tell me that I am still young, that I don’t need to worry about making changes in the world until I am “more mature”. But I didn’t listen and kept on moving forward. That’s my message to all girls like me out there: Take a step forward, speak your mind and keep going. Ignore anything or anyone that might stand in your way. It’s YOUR choice. It’s YOUR life”.

The crowdfunding campaign, which was launched this morning, seeks to cover the costs for renovation of the space, purchase of furniture and equipment and the salaries of four members of staff for the initial months. Sudfeh will then become self-sustaining, providing both a much-needed culinary alternative to students and long-term support for other good causes.

To support the crowdfunding campaign, please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sudfeh

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