While the tide of humanity, desperate yet hopeful to forge a gateway into Europe, garners the world’s attention, the people of Gaza, equally desperate remain imprisoned with no chance for escape by land or sea. Electricity is available only three to six hours a day and more than 70% of Gaza’s children are food insecure. Over half a million people are still displaced in this tiny enclave after three devastating military operations in the past 6 years.
The school year in Gaza is now underway and 1000 students benefited from KinderUSA’s distribution of vouchers to purchase new uniforms, shoes, socks, and backpacks with stationary. Eighty-five percent of these students live in make-shift shelters since most of their homes were completely demolished or rendered uninhabitable during the 2014 war.
The needed items for the new school year cost an estimated $24 per student, a fee out of reach for most families in Gaza. Parents who were interviewed prior to the distribution told us that their children refused to attend school without supplies. Implemented in 10 locations throughout Gaza, the purchases were made locally which provided a boost to the economy while employing 30 workers temporarily.
Despite insurmountable obstacles, many Gazans have been trying to flee the brutal reality they face by attempting to escape by crossing the border at great personal risk. A few have made it while others have been arrested and sent back. One of our partners, Maha A., spoke to those who are trying to leave, “Some manage to make it to Libya, or to Italy through Egypt. They said if they drown, it is a risk most are willing to make. Here, they see no future for their families or for themselves,” she reported. “They don’t want to leave Gaza, but their life has deteriorated so much that they see no other option.”
“If they had the choice, many people from Gaza would join the wave of refugees fleeing to Europe,” said Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, Chairperson of KinderUSA, “but since they must remain, we continue to ask you to help us do our part to make life in Gaza more bearable.” Please continue to support the important work of KinderUSA.