Dubai Cares, a charitable establishment aiming to improve access to primary education, has shared the generosity and good will of the people of the United Arab Emirates with the children of the Gaza Strip by providing 10,149 school and 10,149 hygiene kits to children throughout the Strip. Dubai Cares called upon its partner Care International to work with other community-based organizations to distribute the supplies.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Chairperson of Dubai Cares, said: “Dubai Cares’ intervention in the Gaza Strip stems from its belief that guaranteeing the continuity of children’s education is as important as ensuring their physical and emotional well being. We thank Care International for helping Dubai Cares bring hope to children who have endured unimaginable trauma in the recent war.”
Martha Myers, Country Director for CARE International in West Bank and the Gaza Strip, said children were returning to badly damaged schools and to the sad sight of the empty desks of classmates killed or injured. “We are all very worried about the terrible toll this war has had on children. They have been terrorized and their world turned upside down. The contribution from Dubai Cares means a great deal to them,” Myers said.
The school and hygiene kits were assembled by more than 8,500 UAE residents who participated in the “Volunteer for the Children of Gaza” initiative launched by Dubai Cares in early January. The kits were part of an aid shipment to Gaza that also included school facilities that occupy approximately 800 square meters of land and comprise 11 classrooms, 2 bathrooms for boys and girls and an administration room and can accommodate up to 460 students. Assembled within a total of 72 hours, the schools were designed to Dubai Cares specifications for rapid response interventions.
School children receiving the school bags and hygiene kits from Dubai Cares’ partner, CARE International, were delighted, especially when they found school supplies and a toy stuffed into the bag. Hind, 11 years old, who lives with her 11 siblings and parents, said: “I am very happy with what I got. It is all so beautiful, I also liked the toy and the stuff in the bag.”
Teachers present when the kits were being distributed told the team that they were so pleased to see the children’s faces happy after they received the bags. For parents, not only do they have the bonus of their children’s pleasure, but this contribution reduces demands on limited household incomes. In many cases families currently have no income, so a new school bag, filled with goodies, and a box full of hygiene supplies is welcome support and further reinforcement that they are not alone during these troubling times. Dubai Cares, working with Care International, has brought much needed supplies and encouragement to support the children of Gaza as they begin to rebuild their lives.
The Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, which began on 27 December, left more than 1,440 Palestinians dead, 431 of them children. A further 5,380 Palestinians were injured, 1,872 children. Children, already impoverished and deprived by more than a year of harsh blockade on the Strip, have been traumatized by the loss of their homes and the death and destruction all around them.
Considered to be the world’s largest NGO dedicated to primary education, Dubai Cares has active partnerships with Save the Children, UNICEF, Medecins Sans Frontieres, OXFAM and Care International in developing countries around the world with the highest gap in primary education.
CARE International is one of the world’s largest humanitarian aid agencies, providing assistance in nearly 70 countries. CARE International has been working in the West Bank and Gaza since 1948 (with a short break from 1984-1994) - CARE International implements programs in food security, health and water, support for civil society groups, and distributions of fresh food. Since the conflict started Dec. 27, CARE International has distributed fresh food, medical supplies, water, heaters, blankets and plastic sheeting to hospitals, families and feeding centers in Gaza.