Introduction to Palestine
With a population of 4.8 million people, Palestine is a significant centre of religious architecture, stories and civilizations. Scattered with some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the world, Palestine is also home to the Dead Sea and the oldest olive trees. Olive harvesting is a significant tradition among Palestinians, with generations of families harvesting from the same olive groves.
Successive violence and restrictions imposed by Israel and neighbouring countries have severely impacted access to food, water, and healthcare in Palestine, especially in the Gaza strip. Ongoing violence has injured hundreds of thousands of people and killed thousands of Palestinians. Survivors are traumatized by the violence, accompanying grief, and the fear of living in a hostile environment.
Mental health disorders are a major concern especially for children as the daily exposure to traumatic events greatly impacts their psychological wellbeing. With the destruction of education facilities, education has also been disrupted with over 500,000 children facing challenges in accessing quality education in safe, child-friendly environments.
There are overall threats to medical care due to financial crises, continued electricity shortages, destruction of health care facilities, blockade on goods and services, compounded with the lack of an integrated health care system. Frequent threats of violence leaves Gaza with a traumatized population and a system ill-equipped to help.
Why do the people of Palestine need your support?
For people across Palestine, life is incredibly challenging:
53% of Palestinians in Gaza live in poverty despite humanitarian assistance (OCHA, 2018)
9 out of 10 children in Gaza suffer from some form of conflict-related trauma (Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, 2021)
In Gaza, 96% of the potable water is unfit for human consumption and only 10% of the population have access to safe drinking water (UNICEF)
7 out of 10 households are food insecure (OCHA 2021)
Islamic Relief in Palestine
Islamic Relief Canada has been on the ground in Gaza for the past 26 years. With a main office in Gaza, and WASH, livelihood, food security, and health projects implemented throughout Palestine, we are one of the only Muslim relief organizations that have an ongoing presence in Gaza.
In response to escalating settler violence, our emergency projects provide essential medical supplies to hospitals to support the treatment of injured Palestinians, food and hygiene vouchers, Covid-19 vaccines, and cash, nutrition education and protection-related services to meet each vulnerable family's needs.
Our development projects include rehabilitating damaged health care and education facilities, providing employment opportunities in the agricultural sector, rehabilitating 110 WASH facilities, providing psychosocial support services to vulnerable children, and supporting struggling microbusinesses.
Of these current projects, our work to empower orphans and vulnerable children in the Gaza strip is vital in creating a better future for these children so they can live a dignified life. This long-term transformative journey begins in childhood and ends in young adulthood, where throughout the journey we provide youth with social care and integrated services and economic and healthy character building opportunities.
Your donations in action
"When I wear this robe, I feel like a young scientist and this motivates me to strive harder to achieve my dream.”
This is Lamar, she's part of our Empowering Orphans and Vulnerable Children project in Palestine.
“When I put my eyes on the telescope for the first time in my life, I didn’t want to close them because of the fantastic details that I saw. This was not available in my science classes because there is no telescope at our school. This dream came true once I joined this program that's run by Islamic Relief. We go on educational trips where we are able to do scientific experiments."
Following a trip, Lamar told her teacher about what she learned and was then directed to teach her classmates on how to use a laboratory microscope. The students were immediately fascinated and started asking Lamar some questions to which she happily answered them all!
Lamar adds with great joy and a big smile, “These trips increase my passion for learning." She fell silent and then continued her speech, “Actually, I have two dreams of becoming a veterinarian and a famous scientist. I want to discover a drug for cancer. This way, I will be able to treat many people all over the world, not only in my community.”
This is a prime example of what happens when you give young girls access to all the equipment and experiences they need to fulfill their curiosity.