Those With The Least Give the Most

3655019345_428a4126ba_bHumanitarian work on the ground in Palestine involves working on the front lines in some of the hardest hit areas of conflict in the West Bank and in Gaza.

The Palestinians doing this work are helping those of greatest need and those with the least in Palestine are the ones who give the most to those who have less than themselves, and they do so with pride and dignity.  They give of their time, resources, energy and more, and continue to do so even when the needs are so insurmountable.

I have the honor of knowing such amazing young Palestinians that are nothing less than heroes.  They and their teams work selflessly, tirelessly to advocate for support and to ensure that support is helping the people in need directly.

Palestinian people are so compassionate, giving, full of hope and dignity.  They possess an inner strength and drive to help others, to find ways and solutions to help others.  Ever resilient and most resourceful, the differences that these young humanitarians make will forever change the lives of those they help, and they are setting positive examples for others to follow.

I would like to introduce you to these amazing Palestinians and tell you more about the work they do on the front lines; who work hard to make a difference in the lives of their people and build a better future for their country.

12650813_807956409333383_1631459903504882990_n Iyad Abu Hawella, a freelance journalist and a recent University graduate in English Literature and Education (right) and As’sad Abu Hewella (left), are brothers living in Gaza who strive to bring a brighter tomorrow into the lives of the  children and families in Gaza.  Iyad and As’sad receive private sponsor donations for families and children living in some of the most inhumane conditions, displaced by war and ongoing conflict.

12742354_816454025150288_6572490733280019817_nThis is life under Occupation for Gazans.  These families barely have shelter and the shelter they have does little to protect them from the elements of weather and damaged infrastructure.  Not to mention the thousands of un-exploded IOF ordinances that are buried under rubble posing additional risk to the families living in and around the refugee displacement camps.

 

 

Mohammed MagMohammed Mghari is another amazing social activist and humanitarian.  His group Humanity for Gaza strives to also help as many Gazans as possible, and like many others is dependent upon private donations and sponsorship.

12769495_127799004276678_681291497_nMohammed has put together a team of people who work to reach as many families as they possibly can, with necessities of life for the most impoverished.  The children in this photo were a group Mohammed’s team was able to help with winter coats and clothing.

 

EmadAnother amazing and resilient young Gazan who has decided to take control of the harsh uncertainty of life in Gaza with an unemployment rate of 50%, and start a collective of young, skilled, educated Gazans who are ready and eager to work without boarders, taking work online, in the areas of Data Entry, Web development, Apps Development and programming, Translation, Researching and other business needs.  If you have this kind of work available and want to help these young people to support themselves and their families, please contact me and I will put you in contact with Emad.

 

Anees Mansour2Anees Mansour is the Executive Director of the Hope and Peace Foundation for Children in Gaza, which is a NGO foundation.  Anees has immense energy and passion for the children and youth of Gaza.  He tirelessly works on the social and cultural development and support for children and youth.  Hope and Peace Foundation provide a safe place for children to find creative and supportive outlets to help them cope with life living in a conflict zone and strive for a brighter tomorrow.   The Hope and Peace Foundation is run by generous donations and support.  If you would like to know more about helping the Hope and Peace Foundation, you can contact Anees through this link- Hope and Peace Foundation Gaza, Palestine

 

12346415_10153253941493016_3678140042036104444_nSaid Shoaib is a humanitarian activist in Gaza.  I have followed Said’s work for some time and I am deeply moved by what he continues to strive for in helping others, especially those living in the refugee-displacement camps.

Said has an inner strength and resilience, and has overcome incredible personal challenges and works toward a better future.  He is a recent University graduate with a degree in Technological Management and currently working as an Editorial Manager for the Palestine Observer news agency in Gaza.

If you would like more information on how you can help these ongoing humanitarian efforts, please contact me directly at facesofpalestine@gmail.com .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Faces and Lives In Gaza… part one

_78161886_bcb93f9e-d92a-4ea5-bf96-f1f13121b96aThis is a brief introduction, a first in a series of pieces I will be writing specifically about Gaza, Palestine.  There is ongoing conflict and genocide committed against Palestinians throughout the country daily, but Gaza has been hit particularly hard by serious war efforts led by the Israeli Occupation Forces.  Two *Intifadas, the first being between 1987 – 1993, the second being between 2000 – 2003 and the three conflicts between Israeli Occupation Forces and the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory in the Gaza Strip: Gaza War (2008–09), also known as Operation Cast Lead. 2012 conflict, also known as Operation Pillar of Defense. 2014 Israeli Occupation – Gaza conflict, also known as Operation Protective Edge.

The sole objective of the of these conflicts between Occupation and Gaza have been to isolate, control and imprison the Palestinian people along the Gaza strip.  Ongoing hostile actions, conflicts, and brutality prove this.  Gaza is under complete siege, surrounded, cut off from major supplies of food, water, fuel and other necessities of life, electricity, humanitarian aid, medical care and intervention.  Sewage, clean water supply and infrastructure has been drastically compromised and destroyed.

12342557_574282929394571_6864647132469184041_nApproximately 60% of all Gazans are under the age of 16 years.  The unemployment rate is nearly 50%.  The people of Gaza are held in precarious limbo, forced to choose from choices no one should have to choose.  To struggle to survive and work wherever they can find work, to fully submit to the barbaric brutality of Occupation’s continuous efforts to exterminate the Palestinian people, or to take an assertive stand in resistance; some joining Izz ad-Din al-Qassam to fight to protect Gaza and the people of Gaza against Occupation forces.

This is an entire population of people who have know nothing other than extreme conflict, loss, tragedy and torment.  More than two generations of people.  The most amazing observation for me has been in the incredible capacity of the Gazans to survive with strength, dignity, determination, undying resistance and hope that they will see Palestine free and Gaza once again open to thrive as a sea port and entry for the world.

Abdul KarimI have spoken for many hours to an amazing Gazans, Abdul Karim, one who I consider a dear a friend, who managed to get out of Gaza, out of Palestine, to study Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter in the UK and has in the face of so much inhumane adversity made a success of his life through higher education and hard work.

He lives and works abroad still, but his family remains in Gaza under siege.  He spoke of living through the Intifadas, and additional war conflict, of walking and running through the streets of Gaza while bombs were exploding around him.  The traumatic experiences of seeing friends, neighbors and families killed, shot, burned and blown to pieces; of being part of recovery teams to collect the dead.  In the face of all of this, he never once gave up hope for his future and has never given up hope that Palestine will be free so he can one day come and go freely to see his family and his dearest friends.

Abdul’s story is but one of so many.  It is humbling to speak to Gazans that have managed to find success, some more so than others, in the midst of utter inhumanity, against insurmountable odds.  I speak of those who I have the honor to know, teachers, photographers, journalists, university students, and humanitarian workers.

Iyad AbuHewella3I have learned and seen first hand that those who have the least, work to give the most to those who suffer greater than themselves throughout Gaza. Such as Iyad Abu Hewella, another content contributor to this site and ongoing project, who strives to help through humanitarian efforts and donations to help the displaced children and families in Gaza.  Iyad is a recent graduate of Al-Hazar University in Gaza earning a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Education and did so within four years during the last two major war conflicts in Gaza at times where he had little to no resources.  During this time Iyad also worked to help support his family and volunteer many hours to humanitarian aid efforts and press agencies.

Ahmad HasaballahThere is a spirit of resilience that words alone do not do justice in describing when speaking of the Palestinian people.  Young photographers, like Ahmad Hasaballah (pictured), who is a content contributor to this site, who risks his life to document through his photography the ongoing, constant conflict in Gaza along the Apartheid wall and fences that serve to enclose the population in what is internationally known as the world’s largest open air prison; as well as journalists that put their lives on the line in Gaza to capture ongoing conflict and share their work, photos and videos with the outside world via social media and writers, and activists like myself, in the hope of continuing to keep the plight and suffering of the Palestinians in the eyes of the world.

12717654_597912320364965_8392424495705107041_nTo put life into perspective through the eyes of Gazans, that even in such horrific existence, they all still find reasons to smile, to exude great dignity, pride, and to live, to love, to resist occupation and hold on to hope for the future of a free Palestine.  I see this side of Gaza most through the photography of my partner in this project, Fadi Thabet.  Fadi is both a skilled and experienced professional photographer and teacher in Gaza.  Fadi strives to keep the true inner beauty and spirit of Gaza and her citizens alive and shining bright.  Fadi’s spirit and energy expressed in his work is compelling and moving, drawing the viewer closer into the lives of his subjects.  Fadi’s photos draw us, the viewer, to want to know more about the people, their lives and their hope for the future.

12647508_595618550594342_3097947244721155719_nThe history and heritage of Gaza is rich in culture and diversity of race, faith and beliefs.  Once a major thoroughfare of trade and commerce, one can still observe the remnants of this once thriving and successful city in the beautiful people of Gaza.

These are the faces you will not see on the nightly news of mainstream media, especially media in the Western world.  The Palestinian people are alive, strong, and are struggling every day to exist, and they do so with an unprecedented level of dignity, warmth, pride, and indestructible resistance against the illegal occupation of their lands and over their people, believing that Palestine will know freedom and gain independence.

*Intifada (انتفاضة intifāḍah) is an Arabic word literally meaning, as a noun, “tremor”, “shivering”, “shuddering”.