25 Years on the Ground


The Middle East Children's Alliance

Major Highlights 








  • Medical shipment including pediatric wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches valued at half million dollars delivered to clinics and hospitals serving Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
  • Built sports field in Silwan and playground in Hajjah village
  • Supported educational and cultural projects for children in five refugee camps
  • Launched psychosocial suport projects in November 2012 after Israel's 8-day bombing of Gaza
  • Gave more than 100 presentations by Associate Director Ziad Abbas and Director Barbara Lubin on Palestine’s water crisis, refugees rights, and the Arab Spring to students and community groups in dozens of US cities and towns
  • Second year of "Let the Children Play and Heal" project to address the trauma of children in Gaza by giving tens of thousands of children and youth opportunities to express themselves through art, dance, music, story-telling, theatre and puppetry
  • Published "A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against Censorship" after displaying at art gallery in Oakland and receiving thousands of visitors
  • Maia Mural Brigade traveled to Gaza
  • Launch of Plant-a-Tree in Palestine project
  • Provided scholarships for 143 students in 2011 and 150 students in 2012 studying at universities in the West Bank and Gaza
  • Organized cultural and speaking events with Ali Abunimah, Aswat Music Ensemble, Diana Buttu, Dave Zirin, “Cultures of Resistance,” Hayo Meyer, Alice Walker, and others 
  • First annual Bay to Breakers Maia Team
  • Helped design and lead a ten-day “field school” in Palestine for under-graduate and graduate students from the University of New Mexico



Let the Children Play and Heal

MAIA Project

  • Four-ton shipment of medicine and medical supplies, valued at $1.6 million, to Gaza, along with several tons of powdered milk, fortified children’s cereal, an ambulance, wheelchairs, surgical blades, and a full truckload of art and school supplies.
  • Medical shipment valued at $1.3million for Palestinian and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon
  • Speaking tours for Director Barbara Lubin and Associate Director Ziad Abbas, with engagements at schools, universities, community organizations, and conferences in dozens of US cities
  • Scholarships provided to 97 Palestinian students studying at universities in the West Bank and Gaza in 2010.
  • Let the Children Play and Heal gave 110,000 children in Gaza opportunities to express themselves though art to get support from the larger community; and to have fun and just be children and trained 480 women on how to support their children and children in their communities during this difficult time
  • Funds provided to Playgrounds for Palestine to build playgrounds in two Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon
  • MECA launched the Maia Project (Arabic for "water") to provide clean drinking water to children in Palestine. Water purification and desalination units are installed in eleven schools and kindergartens in Gaza provide safe, clean water to nearly 17,000 children.
  • Events with Ali Abunimah, Nadje Al-Ali, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian, Noam Chomsky, book release party for MECA Board Member Osha Neumann


  • $1.5 million in medical aid to Lebanon during the war
  • Direct assistance to organizations providing basic necessities to refugee camps and remote villages in Lebanon
  • $750,000 in medicine and supplies to the Children’s Welfare Teaching Hospital in Baghdad
  • $1.8 million medical shipment to Gaza and $30,000 of food, blankets, and other essential items distributed to families during relentless Israeli attacks
  • Director of Gaza Projects Dr. Mona El-Farra speaks and raises funds throughout the US
  • Events with Ali Abunimah, Dahr Jamail, Robert Fisk, and Culture Clash, screening of Digital Stories by Palestinian Youth, “We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon” reading, and benefit production of Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's “Voices of a People’s History of the United States”
Photo by S. Smith Patrick
Photo by S. Smith Patrick
Voices of a People's History of the United States
Nora El Samahy, Aya de Leon, Mos Def, Howard Zinn, Melanie DeMore from “Voices of a People’s History of the United States”


Justice Matters
'Justice Matters' exhibit, with work by Eric Drooker
  • $740,000 in medical aid for children in Iraq and Palestine
  • Direct funds for emergency food relief sent to Gaza during months of incursions in 2004
  • Ramzy Halaby Education Fund and Elly Jaensch Memorial Scholarship established to send Palestinian refugees to college in the US and Palestine
  • Michael Franti and film crew travel to Iraq and Palestine with MECA
  • Joining Hands, a group committed to support Palestinian women under occupation, raises funds with an annual Palestinian crafts bazaar and 2003 show of Palestinian children's art
  • Events with Mustafa Barghouti, Naomi Shihab Nye, Robert Fisk, Ilan Pappe, Norman Finkelstein, Naomi Klein, Ghada Karmi, Maxine Hong Kingston, Cindy and Craig Corrie, and Dr. Rana Nashashibi and Siham Rashid from the Palestinian Counseling Center
  • Two US tours (2003, 2005) of the youth dance troupe from Dheisheh Refugee Camp raise $400,000 to build and equip the new women and children’s building with space for a new, larger kindergarten
  • The Berkeley Arts Center and MECA display artwork from "Justice Matters: Artists Consider Palestine," an exhibition of works created by fourteen Palestinian and American Artists


  • Aid to Palestinian communities and projects devastated by the Israeli incursions of 2002, particularly Jenin Refugee Camp
  • MECA staff and Palestinian partners attend International Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa
  • MECA, the Rosenberg Fund for Children, and Vanguard Public Foundation produce “Celebrate the Children of Resistance: An Evening of Music, Poetry and Dramatic Readings”
  • MECA and Voices in the Wilderness organize the "Remembering Omran" bus tour to build opposition to sanctions against Iraq and collect school supplies for Iraqi children. Although MECA is no longer an organizer, this educational bus tour is still traveling the US.
  • Events include the late Professor Edward Said and MECA Events Coordinator Penny Rosenwasser on tour with her slideshow “The Face of Occupation”
  • First national tour of the youth dance troupe from Dheisheh Refugee Camp raises funds for a new four-story building with a computer center, women’s embroidery collective, multi-purpose room, restaurant and guesthouse in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, Palestine
Poster by Jos Sances
Poster by Jos Sances
Alliance Graphics Artist Jos Sances and Barbara Lubin with the “Remembering Omran” bus
Alliance Graphics Artist Jos Sances and Barbara Lubin with the “Remembering Omran” bus
Photo by S. Smith Patrick
Photo by S. Smith Patrick


Photo by S. Smith Patrick
Photo by S. Smith Patrick
Homage to Robeson by Elly Simmons
Homage to Robeson by Elly Simmons
  • Two shipments totaling more than $850,000 in medical aid to Palestine
  • More than $2 million in medicine delivered to Iraq
  • MECA helps make Berkeley the first city to oppose sanctions against the people of Iraq
  • MECA and the Welfare Association design and build three state-of-the-art, accessible parks and playgrounds in Gaza, Al-Bireh, and Nablus
  • Playground equipment for Right to Live School in Gaza for children with Down’s Syndrome
  • Events included Studs Terkel in coversation with Howard Zinn, & Alexander Cockburn
  • Alliance Graphics artist Jos Sances puts together "Freedom or Slavery:
    The Paul Robeson Portfolio" a screenprinted collection of artists and writers who have contributed a work to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Paul Robeson. All sales benefit MECA.


  • Two truckloads of infant formula, baby food, and antibiotics driven into Iraq after the Gulf War
  • $978,000 in medical supplies for Palestine
  • Support for clinics in Nablus and Jabaliya Refugee Camp to purchase lab equipment, open pharmacies, and extend hours
  • $1.2 million in aid to Lebanon
  • Thousands of medical textbooks and journals shipped to hospitals in Beirut and Jerusalem
  • Director Barbara Lubin’s first national speaking tour
  • Educational and fundraising events with Noam Chomsky, Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Richie Havens, June Jordan, Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, Howard Zinn, Alice Walker, & Gore Vidal
  • Alliance Graphics union print shop opens; profits support MECA’s work
Photo by George Azar
Photo by George Azar
June Jordan and Noam Chomsky
June Jordan at a MECA benefit. Photo by Neal Cassidy.

1988 -1990

Illustration by Jos Sances
Illustration by Jos Sances

Pete Seeger
Folk legend Pete Seeger performs at a MECA benefit
  • Dental clinic for Dheisheh Refugee Camp
  • Shipment of $120,000 of baby formula and warm winter clothes to Palestine
  • Launch "A Time to Sow" campaign to replant trees in Palestine that were uprooted by the Israeli military. All trees were grown by a Palestinian agricultural cooperative in the West Bank.
  • Members of Women’s Work Brigade organized by MECA teach classes in English, video production, library systems and international women’s issues, and assist staff at a pre-school and women’s center in Palestine
  • Six MECA delegations to Palestine
  • Educational and fundraising events included a concert with Marcel Khalife, Pete Seeger, Holly Near, and Ronnie Gilbert; a dinner with Martin Sheen to celebrate MECA's opening; and a presentation by Dr. Swee Chai Ang