As part of its "Rebuild Palestine. Start with Education" initiative, Dubai Cares today announced a community campaign that aims to supply the children of Gaza with the school necessities required to continue their education, following the latest round of violence in Palestine. Dubai Cares appeals to UAE residents for assistance in putting together 50,000 school kits at a community event scheduled for January 8-11, 2015 from 10 am to 6 pm at Al Boom Tourist Village, located between Dubai Creek Park and Al Garhoud Bridge in Dubai. This campaign follows the Dubai Cares AED 11 million (USD 3 million) program, which was launched in October 2014 to support access to education and mitigate the psycho-social effects of armed conflict on the student population in Gaza. The school kits aim to inspire hope among the children of Gaza with the start of the second half of the academic year as well as the New Year.
The third major conflict in six years in Gaza has had a severe impact on education. The latest round of violence was marked by a significant amount of infrastructural damage, with over 138 schools bombed or damaged over the course of the seven-week conflict, including 89 run by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East). Over 90 UNRWA schools have been transformed into shelters for internally displaced people, more than half of whom are children. Since the open-ended cease fire at the end of August, the school year has resumed but over 253,000 UNRWA students require urgent psycho-social support.
Speaking about the need to restore the educational infrastructure in Gaza, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares said: "When a region as Gaza is tarnished by violence, the priority is to ensure survival and protection. Unfortunately, the children of Gaza have consistently been the innocent victims of this dispute with their present and futures compromised due to the lack of security. For Dubai Cares, the "Rebuild Palestine. Start with Education" initiative is the next step in ensuring security - we hope to safeguard the children's future opportunities by equipping them with the needed support, including amenities to go back to school and continue their studies. Together, we will assemble 50,000 school kits for the children of Gaza and show communities around the world how our relentless efforts as well as our spirit of giving can make a huge difference in the lives of those innocent children."
The campaign is expected to attract thousands of volunteers over a period of four days. The volunteers will assist Dubai Cares in assembling the back-to-school kits that will provide the conflict-affected children the basic educational supplies required for school. The contents of the kit, sourced by Dubai Cares in accordance with UNRWA guidelines, will include a backpack, notebooks, sketch books, geometry kit, calculator, pencil case for stationery including pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, crayons, rulers etc. The kits will be given to 50,000 children currently studying in UNRWA schools.
"The cumulative impact of decades of violence in Palestine has been felt across socio-economic-political platforms. Children, as well as adults, have suffered material losses as well as physical and psychological trauma that is now manifesting in a sluggish economy as well as volatility within communities. We need to address this situation and provide educational support to children, so that they have a chance to overcome this debilitating environment and plant the seeds for a more peaceful and productive future. By distributing these kits, we are not only encouraging children to go back to school but also emphasizing that the global community is invested in their growth and success," Al Gurg concluded.
This is not the first Dubai Cares campaign aimed at facilitating the lives of children living in Gaza. In 2009, the organization conducted a similar community engagement campaign that provided 50,000 school kits and 50,000 hygiene kits to the children of Gaza.