The world has witnessed over the last seven weeks the unbearable horrors of the bombardment and whole scale destruction of the Gaza Strip. UNOCHA confirms the deaths of 2,104 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, of whom 495 are children and 253 are women. These people are not a list of numbers, or statistics or faceless individuals. Please see this link that lists the names, ages of the children that have been senselessly and so ruthlessly killed in the bombardment of Gaza, and may we keep remembering forever the sound of their joy and mischief, captured so beautifully in this poem:
“Oh rascal children of Gaza. You who constantly disturbed me with your screams under my window. You who filled every morning with rush and chaos. You who broke my vase and stole the lonely flower on my balcony. Come back, and scream as you want and break all the vases. Steal all the flowers. Come back..Just come back..”
— Khaled Juma, a Palestinian poet from Gaza
The sheer scale of the devastation is overwhelming, and over 350,000 children in Gaza require specialised psycho-social support to deal with the high levels of trauma they are experiencing. An estimated 230 schools have been damaged and around 500,000 children will be unable to start the school year.
In all this devastation, we are constantly reminded of the strength and sumud (steadfastness) of the Palestinian people. Through this time, our partner Hamed from the Hebron International Resource Network has been working tirelessly to bring countless projects come to fruition, including the ongoing support for the Tel Rumeida kindergarten and the Dkaika education project.
As a result of the Festival Fundraiser, Leichhardt Friends of Hebron have been able to provide some assistance to Hamed’s projects. Hamed writes:
“ We, the people of Hebron, do sincerely thank you for all of your efforts supporting the educational activities in Hebron City and Governorate in general. We are looking forward for continued cooperation in the short and long terms. The raised funds for this year will be used to pay the salaries of two teachers at the Shuhada Street Kindergarten, a janitor, as well as the salary of a driver from the marginalized community of Dkaika who is tasked with providing transportation to at least 8 students (mostly girls) to their school located 8 kilometers away. Your contribution is ESSENTIAL in making these small little dreams come true “
With help from local group Youth Against Settlements playground equipment was brought into the Tel Rumeida kindergarten in the middle of the night and assembled – a necessary strategy to ensure that the volunteers were not harassed and stopped by settlers. The photos below show the dedication of the people in Hebron to bring education to some of the most vulnerable children in the area, as well as some much needed equipment to play with.
Leichhardt Friends of Hebron thank all our supporters who assist us in these vital projects. These projects are two of many that HIRN is involved with, and through your generosity we can continue to ensure we are supporting young children and their right to education.