Aid Groups and Online Movements Support Palestinians in Need!

By Viviana Nadal-Villano, AGE 13

Since Oct. 7, 2023, living in Palestine has become unsustainable. Palestinians suffer under Israeli occupation, facing limited access to aid and isolation from the world. The most recent Israeli assault on Gaza has led to 2.3 million starving Palestinians, according to a United Nations report in December. Organizations like Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) and movements like #ConnectGaza have been battling to offer essential assistance. 

Prior to Oct. 7, around 500 trucks carrying crucial food and medical supplies entered Palestine daily. Nearly 80% of Gazans relied on the humanitarian aid even before the current conflict, according to Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the U.N. secretary-general. Recent pressure from the United States has forced Israel to allow trucks to come through the border, but only after burdensome inspections. However, the increased Israeli blockades and protests limit the amount of truck entries. These trucks are crucial for 80% of displaced Palestinians, because they are the only source for essential services. 

MECA is a nonprofit based in California whose mission is to protect the rights of children in the Middle East. They send out food, water, medicine, and provide education to children while also raising awareness about their traumatic experiences. MECA financially supports community organizations in forming clinics, counseling centers, libraries, parks, art programs and educational activities for Palestinian children. Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza since 2007, so many people have limited nourishment. MECA encourages farmers and cooks to assist families and children who need fresh food. 

Palestinians have always been slightly isolated, having limited communication across distances. Israeli airstrikes and fuel shortages destroyed the main communications infrastructure in Gaza, cutting off Palestinians from the rest of the world almost entirely. Phones can be used to seek help, access knowledge and share stories with people online, so having a working phone in Palestine is valuable. Similar to SIM cards, eSIMs are a software version of physical insertable SIM cards and can be shared online. They serve the same purpose as SIM cards and connect phones to internet and cellular networks. Activist Mirna El Helbawi is spearheading a Twitter/X campaign called #ConnectGaza which allows people to buy and donate eSIM cards to residents within Gaza. The eSIM cards allow Palestinans to have access to the outside world again. El Helbawi has slowly but surely helped connect over 50,000 Palestinians via donated eSIM cards. 

Palestinians have support from organizations and people around the world, but they still need more. You can contribute to MECA and #ConnectGaza by donating money to their causes or sharing their efforts. The money donated to MECA goes toward supplies, aid and helpful programs for the children which are beneficial to both their mental and physical health. To get involved with El Halbawi’s campaign (#ConnectGaza) visit https://gazaesims.com/ for more information. 

Palestinians are suffering. They are malnourished, tired, and thus far over 32,000 people have been killed. But with organizations and people willing to help, we can make a difference! So go out, contribute, share, and learn so we can make the world a safer place for kids like you and me.

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