The fallout from the 2014 war in Gaza continues to have a devastating effect on the lives of the Palestinian people. Families are spending over half their income on just the necessities to live, and those are the ones who have income. One in 2 people are considered food insecure . With over 50% of the population food insecure, and 80% receiving aid, hunger remains a daily challenge for parents who do their best to provide just one meal a day for their children.
The idea that for every 1000 babies born in Gaza, 28 die from malnutrition is simply unconscionable .
For 5 year-old Yamen, life continues to inflict obstacles. His parents, unable to provide for him, left him in the care of his ailing grandmother who lives in a tin home with sand as a floor. On numerous occasions, Yamen has rebelled both in school and at home, longing to be with his parents. Sadly, he is often found sitting in the middle of the road, tearfully despondent.
Due to his severe financial status, he has been admitted into Kindergarten with the nominal yearly fee of $10 waived so he can enjoy some structure and stability in his life. Teachers have worked closely with Yamen, though as they note, “he is but one of many we see in our classes.” Some of the symptoms of malnutrition displayed by Yamen include listlessness and aching bones. But since he started kindergarten in January where he receives hot meals provided by KinderUSA, he complains less and is more involved and motivated.
“There are some things that we cannot change,” said KinderUSA Board Chair, Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, “but we can make a difference in the daily lives of children like Yamen so they are given a chance to thrive. His case shows how vital this program is to the basic survival of the most vulnerable in Gaza.”
For Yamen and children like him, food aid amounts to their lifeline. The nutritional meals program is not possible without your continued support. We can never underestimate the role we play in the lives of these children.