Gaza Update: Medicine, Winter Aid, Psychological Support, Music and More
Palestinian children and families in Gaza are living every day with the aftermath of the 2014 seven-week Israeli assault on the entire population, which killed more than 500 children, injured thousands and left virtually every child in Gaza suffering from psychological distress. The attack and its lasting impact comes on top of a devastating blockade, now in its tenth year, previous attacks, and decades of occupation and dispossession. MECA continues to meet children’s basic needs and provides help through our psychosocial support program, “Let the Children Play & Heal.” (The name of our psychosocial support program.)
Gaza Update: Medical Aid Shipment
After months of delays, a MECA medical shipment finally reached Gaza in December. Antibiotics, vitamins for children and pregnant women, pain medications, surgical supplies, hospital mattresses, and wheelchairs were delivered to the Red Crescent Society of the Gaza Strip, which runs three clinics in Gaza, and Ard Al-Insan Child Nutrition Center. The shipment was packed and ready to go to Gaza in August but due to the Israeli blockade, it took months to get clearance for the shipment. MECA is grateful to the World Health Organization for their help in getting the shipment cleared for entry. In December, MECA Gaza staff and a team of volunteers delivered warm children’s clothing made at a local factory.
Gaza Update: Music Comes to Gaza Schools
“We sing and love life despite the Israeli oppression!”
School days in Gaza are can be very hard. Many children have difficulty concentrating and learning because of chronic psychological distress. Classes are overcrowded. Buildings are damaged by Israeli shells and the blockade prevents materials for repair from entering Gaza. A shortage of school buildings has made most schools run two or three shifts, shortening the school day. There is no time, money or space for anything but the bare basic instruction. MECA is supporting a music program in Gaza schools for 100 children. At the end of the year, the children’s “Peace Choir” performed for the whole community. A friend in Gaza who attended wrote:
"Stunning performance by the Peace Choir of 100 children from the Gaza Strip. They sang a song from their Palestinian heritage about a grandmother's thobe (traditional embroidered dress); about how each stitch represents a Palestinian story from pre-1948 Palestine."
WATCH VIDEOS from the performance
Gaza Update: Nutrition and Health Workshops
MECA’s new Project Assistant in Gaza Wafaa El Derawi has initiated a project to address a nutrition crisis that many families face. The Israeli blockade of Gaza, which blocks the entry of many basic foods, along with widespread poverty, make it difficult for people to get adequate nutrition. As a result many children and adults suffer from anemia, vitamin deficiencies, diabetes and other disorders. Wafaa and a nurse conduct nutrition trainings, in which 60 women cook and share a meal together as they learn how they can make healthy meals for themselves and their families with foods that are available and affordable in Gaza. They also learn about symptoms, testing and treatment for malnutrition-related diseases and how to prevent food and water-borne illnesses. The women leave with a wealth of health information, glucose-testing devices, and hygiene kits.
In addition to these projects, MECA’s Maia Project continues to provide clean water in Gaza schools, “Let the Children Play & Heal” provides psychological support, recreation, and arts programs for children, and we are supporting a women’s sewing business, and a new preschool/kindergarten.