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The Children of Peace School, Rafah, Gaza

FRESH WATER FOR SHELTERING GAZANS

The Children of Peace School was designated to be built in Rafah, prior to the war. The project was conceived by our Regional Liaison Ola Shalayel and her husband Dr Mohamed Fujom with the support of Children of Peace. Now war has struck. So far the building is still standing, sheltering dozens of displaced Gazans who have lost everything.

Children of Peace has donated funds to install tanks to provide fresh, potable water to the Gazans taking refuge in the building.

Here Ola Shalayel discusses the situation…

“The 7 October War, this cursed war, has destroyed everything, our dreams, our future, and our memories.

It has killed our friends, neighbours, and members of our families. We do not want war, we want to live in peace. All citizens do not want war, and we want to end the war as soon as possible.

Truly, the citizens have lost everything. The homes they built with tears and sweat have been bombed. They have lost security and safety. They have been expelled from their homes, and hospitals and schools have been bombed.

I was there for 40 days. I was there to supervise the construction and furnishing of a school, but suddenly the war came, and I lived through difficult days. I drank contaminated, unfiltered water because there was no electricity, and I ate unsuitable canned food. There was no bread to buy, and there was a huge price for everything. I baked bread using very simple equipment, and cooked food on fire from simple wood, old clothes, and books.

I became ill with gastrointestinal problems, my eyes were hurting, and my chest was tired from the dust and smoke. These were bitter and difficult days, and I used to call the Norwegian embassy every day, telling it of my suffering and my extreme fear of hearing the sound of bombing close to me, and I fled from one place to another. It was a relief for me. The Norwegians offered to evacuate me as soon as possible.

When one of my friends asked me if he could live in my house and the school building, I quickly agreed. And did not hesitate, as more than 70 people lived in the school building, including children, women and the elderly. Many were sleeping on the street. They were in tents under the rain, and they did not have anything. I provided them with clothes, blankets, and household and cooking tools, but water was always in short supply.

A child said, ‘I haven’t drunk water for two days.’

This is due to the difficulty of transporting water and its availability. We can only pray for them to remain safe and for the war to end soon.

When I approached my friends at Children of Peace to ask if it was possible to provide water tanks for the displaced, the charity’s board did not hesitate and agreed at once.

I want to convey the thanks of all the displaced people in the school and the extent of their gratitude to Children of Peace, especially the children and pregnant women.”

NOW IS THE TIME

To help us rebuild, you can support our charity via BACS to…
Children of Peace, HSBC Bank
Sort: 40-44-37
Account: 71709445

OR DONATE NOW...

It is a painful time for us all but we will hold to our principles and resolve in our pursuit of peace, justice and the protection of the children.

Thank you for your continued support. It means so much.

FROM THE PRESIDENT

TRAPPED IN A NIGHTMARE

How can anyone possibly imagine the ordeal of living in Gaza right now?

It’s over six months since 7 October 2023 when Hamas terrorists perpetrated the vile attack on southern Israeli communities. The deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust, which triggered the catastrophic war in Gaza. Today, there are still 134 hostages unaccounted for. It must be agonising for them and their families.

Gazan families have lost everything. Whole communities are displaced. Infrastructure has collapsed. Roads have disappeared under rubble. Homes are obliterated. Shops and marketplaces wiped out. The onslaught has had a damaging effect on the mental and physical health for the 2.2 million Palestinians in Gaza. Famine is imminent in the enclave’s north, where people lack adequate food, water and shelter. If Israel pushes into Rafah in the south as planned, famine could soon loom there.

Is there a future?

Most Gazans we know are desperate to leave the enclave. Depopulated, devastated and destroyed, does Gaza have a future? Gaza once had one of the highest levels of literacy in the region. Now there are no schools, colleges or universities. Nearly 14,000 Gazan children have been killed and over 12,000 injured (UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs figures, April 2024)

Various scenarios for the future of Gaza have emerged including a new confederation administered by the Arab League, or Qatar and the USA. Egypt and Jordan and the Palestinian Authority could play an active role but none will cooperate if Hamas is still viable.

For the people of Gaza – the present and the future is bleak.

“Dehumanisation is the first Article of War”.

Richard Martin FRSA, President and Founder, Children of Peace.

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WHAT WE DOAND MESSAGES OF SUPPORT

Children of Peace is a non-partisan charity organization for Israeli and Palestinian children, aged 4 – 17, and their communities. Our aim is a shared spirit and well-being through arts, education, health and sports. Working for peace, building trust, friendship and reconciliation. So future generations might live peacefully side-by-side. We don’t take sides.

UK Home Secretary

"The UK’s longstanding position on the Middle East Peace Process is clear and has not changed: we support a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state; based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair, agreed and realistic settlement for refugees.

The UK shares your commitment to helping build understanding between people on both sides of the conflict, including engaging in people-to-people work to bring together different communities. This includes promoting a more positive portrayal of one another to contribute to building the conditions needed for peace."

"As your organization has recognized, children are often overlooked victims of violent conflict, and too few efforts are focused on their particular needs. Generations of Israeli and Palestinian children have grown up with peace as an elusive dream. Supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process requires grassroots reconciliation through the mobilization of non-governmental organizations such as Children of Peace. I wish Children of Peace the best success in all of its endeavors as it continues to grow."

"The Holy Father will remember your intentions in his prayers and he invokes upon you God's blessings of joy and peace."

"I am encouraged by Children of Peace in their commitment against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. This organization is taking a step in the right direction by passing down inclusive values to the next generation.

I commend Children of Peace for their work in this area."

Formerly Shadow Foreign Secretary now Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales

“For those of us who want to see a secure and viable state of Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine, it is clear that projects which help to foster trust between different communities are an important way to encourage peaceful co-existence.

Children of Peace’s work not only helps to break down some of the stereotypes and fears that characterise the conflict in Israel and Palestine, but gives young people the chance to make friends and meet role models who can help them see things from a different perspective.”

Rebuilding Lives

The violence against Israelis and Palestinians hurts children in both communities – with an increase in post-traumatic stress, morbidity, nightmares. Children of Peace carries out urgent work with our partners – protecting and supporting children. Please support our work and help the #childrenofconflict.

Photo credit: Lyle Hastie - Unsplash

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