Healing the children of gaza
Fatima is a Palestinian mother with an unwavering commitment to serve her community. With your support, she works as a midwife with Act for Peace’s local partner, working tirelessly to make sure sick children get the the crucial medical treatment they need. The loss she suffered during last year’s conflict, and the pain her community experiences daily as a result of the blockade, makes her determined to build a brighter future for families in Gaza.
Richard Wainwright / Act for Peace
12 months ago, Gaza was shattered by the third conflict in six short years. Over 2,200 civilians died, the majority of them women and children. Hospitals were overrun with casualties and the health system simply could not cope. This came on top of Israel’s seven year blockade, which has paralysed the movement of people, goods and humanitarian aid to and from Gaza, taking a terrible toll on the health and well-being of the people trapped there. There are chronic shortages of health supplies and spare parts and stocks of many essential drugs are close to zero. Services are completely overstretched. In this context, the health clinics you support, run by Act for Peace’s local partner, are more essential than ever.
Through your gifts, you’re helping mothers take care of their babies during pregnancy, and during the fragile first five years of life. Gaza’s already high rates of anemia and malnutrition have become even worse since the recent conflict. But thanks to you, healthcare professionals like Fatima are providing a home-visit service that screens children for these conditions, and helps them get the treatment they desperately need.
Fatima grew up in Gaza, and knows all too well the hardship people face here. Her home, where she lived with her young family, was completely destroyed in the recent conflict.
“At the beginning of the war it was like normal, no electricity and bombing all around us, not easy but we were used to this, we are a strong people. Then the bombing intensified and was closer. We were evacuated at dawn when the house next to us was bombed. When we left thousands of people were just walking, it was chaos and families were split up. When we returned we found our house had been destroyed. We lost all of our belongings, our papers, and our memories.”
Tragically, their home wasn’t the only thing the war took from Fatima’s family:
“My sister was 8 months pregnant and during the strikes she had to give birth to her baby on the floor whilst the bombing surrounded us. We called the ambulance but it couldn’t get to us because of the bombing and the baby died as we waited for the fighting to stop.”
Incredibly, despite losing so much, Fatima refuses to focus on her own suffering. Instead, she channels all her energy into a determination to help others. She says the pain that her community experiences daily is the reason she continues to work hard to build a brighter future for families in Gaza.
“I’m praying to God that the situation gets better…I don’t have any expectations that it will…but I’m hoping it will be better. I will work hard to keep families safe and to educate mothers on how to prevent their children from getting sick in these very difficult times.”
Day in, day out, Fatima works tirelessly to reach as many families as possible, ensuring that the most at risk children are identified. She spends over 12 hours each day driving from house to house, through the rubble of Gaza. She refers sick children to the general clinic where they are tested for anemia and then treated at a specialised Anemia and Malnutrition clinic at one of our partner’s three health care clinics in Gaza. It makes an enourmous difference.
“I’m very happy in my job and I think we are helping a lot of people. What I love is that it’s about the children and their future. It’s always nice to meet healthy children and also to help those that are in need”.
You may remember reading about a little boy called Tarek in the recent Gaza appeal. He’s only 5 years old, but he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by the horrors he witnessed in the last war. Your response to the appeal was amazing. Thanks to you, Tarek is progressing in his recovery and has been drawing happy pictures in his psychosocial support sessions.
Your gifts are transforming lives like Tarek’s and making important work like Fatima’s possible. Thank you for helping to heal the children of Gaza and bringing hope for the future.
More ways to take action
You can help prevent children like Maala being born with chronic illnesses by helping pregnant women stay healthy and nourished in the first place.
Take the Act for Peace Ration Challenge and eat the same rations as a Syrian refugee during Refugee Week (19-26 June 2016). Raise money to support refugees who have lost everything, and challenge perspectives – including your own.
Right now, thousands of innocent people are fleeing Syria every day to protect their families from bloodshed, violence and death. We need your support to provide emergency relief packs to the families fleeing in Syria.