An Indiegogo campaign began this week to address the emergency needs of children affected by the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The goals of the campaign range from supplying special-needs children with specialized equipment to supplying wheelchairs for children who have suffered injuries through the conflict and providing schools with solar power systems to make them independent from Gaza’s often unstable power grid.
Among the structures severely damaged during conflicts last year were facilities of Gaza’s Society of Physically Handicapped People, a non-profit, non-political organization, run independent of the government. The Shams Al Amal School for Handicapped Children, the only of its kind in the territory, according to Palestine’s Ministry of Education, was almost completely destroyed.
“For the thousands of physically disabled survivors who rely heavily on these necessities, being without them can be debilitating or even life threatening,” the campaign says. “The destruction of the school’s buildings forced a delay to the start of the school year. In addition to having to make up for lost time, the children must now study in tents amongst the rubble, exposed to all elements in the Gaza winter.”
Perks of the campaign include a shoutout on Twitter for those who help purchase a child’s wheelchair, a photograph of a student holding a “thank you” sign, and, for higher level donations, having a donor’s name placed on the school wall.
The campaign was founded by Dr. Basel Abuwarda, a physician and human rights activist, and Mostafa Asi, who are both coordinating the effort.
The most recent major conflict between Israel and Hamas began last year after the murder of three Israeli teenagers. The conflict lasted for more than six weeks, as each side took fire. Rockets and mortar shells destroyed no less than 17,000 homes in Gaza. By the conflict’s end, more than 50 health care clinics were destroyed in the area. Over half of the hospitals reported damage, ranging from broken windows to total destruction, according to the World Health Organization.
Photo by Dr. Basel Abuwarda/Mostafa Asi