Al-Mosader village is a poor, marginalized area close to the Israel military fence that surrounds Gaza. When MECA staff Mona El-Farra and Wafaa El Derawi went to visit the kindergarten there last spring they got some alarming news about the children.
When the school did blood tests and checked the height and weight of the children, they found that more than half of the children —sixty-three percent—had anemia and ten children suffered from stunting as a result of malnutrition and food insecurity. The Israeli blockade on the Gaza strip since 2006 has impacted all aspects of life including the health and nutritional status of children.
Shortly after this visit, MECA began a project in four kindergartens in the poorest areas of Gaza to address this crisis. Wafaa, who is a trained nutritionist and nutrition educator, manages the project. MECA partnered with a women’s kitchen project we helped start a few years ago. Wafaa helps them to buy and prepare nutritious food; arranges blood tests and weight and height checks for the children; and delivers meals to kindergartens.
Recent tests and measurements of the kids showed that the project is slowly but surely improving the children’s health. In addition, children came to school more regularly, more children enrolled in kindergarten, and their attention and behavior improved.
Ms. Rahma, Kindergarten Director says, “I am happy that Al-Fawares Kindergarten became a second home for the children. I see the children’s enthusiasm when they wait for the meals each day. The teachers told me that their students are more alert and more interested in learning. I hope the project will continue for many years.“