Portrait of Ayat BiltagiIn my senior year at California State University-East Bay I had to do an 80-hour internship at a non-profit organization. When I found MECA on the school’s website, I looked no further. Being Palestinian, I was elated to find an organization that was working for Palestinian children. I was blown away by the organizations MECA works with in Gaza, where my family is from. I was really excited about the Maia Project that installs water purification systems for Gaza schools.

For about six months I helped out with administrative tasks in the office, distributed flyers to publicize MECA’s events, worked at the events and the Annual Palestinian Crafts Bazaar in December. I liked working at the Bazaar the best of all the things I did at MECA. It was the first time I saw a place so full of things direct from Palestine. I got to know MECA staff and supporters and other volunteers. I didn’t have to explain where Palestine was or what was going on there like I often do in so many other situations. Everyone was there to appreciate the beauty of Palestine and support the people there.

I am so glad I was able to contribute to MECA’s work in Palestine because there is such a great need as long as there is an occupation. Palestinians have been suffering for more than 70 years and I don’t see an end on the horizon. We are up against a big giant. I have family in Gaza but it’s very hard to be in touch with them because most of the time they don’t have any electricity. And I can’t really do anything for them and that’s the part that feels the most helpless and terrifying. But I do believe the occupation will end one day, if we work hard enough. Then MECA’s work will still be necessary. There will be a healing process and people will still need basic necessities like water, electricity, and health care.

To volunteer at MECA, please email Nawal Tamimi:
[email protected]