Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Appeal for the children of Gaza

Gaza xmas 2009

Please support the Christmas Appeal for the children of Gaza, launched by Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) works in partnership with local organisations to meet the health and medical needs of Palestinian refugees, and those Palestinians worst affected by the occupation, and the ongoing conflict with Israel. MAP works on long term development projects, and they also deliver emergency aid during times of crisis.

Do you remember the horrific and brutal bombing of Gaza this January? The children of Gaza can’t forget it.

Through their psycho-social care programme, MAP supports thousands of children and families across Gaza, who have been traumatized by Israeli offensives.

Listen to what 16 year old Senah says:

"We were sheltering in our house in Jabalia. Most people had already left the area, but we had stayed inside our home, and our neighbours were sheltering with us. On January 3rd an Israeli tank fired a shell that struck our house, injuring my sister, Fida. We knew the situation was very dangerous, but we needed to take her to the hospital, so we all left our house together."

As Senah and her family were attempting to leave their house an Israeli tank fired a second shell towards them, killing eighteen year old Fida, and Senah's four year old brother, Rehan, instantly. Her sister-in- law, Iman was also horrifically injured. "Iman lost both her legs, and my mother was wounded too" says Senah. 'We managed to get them into another neighbour's house - but we could not find my father or my younger brother, Ibrahim."

Iman died almost immediately. Senah and her surviving family spent the next five days hiding with their neighbours, too frightened to leave the house because of the Israeli intense bombardment of the area. Even medical personnel could not reach them. Eventually, on 8 January, they felt safe enough to try to move out of the area. "I searched for my father and my brother, Ibrahim" says Senah. "I was hoping they were still alive. But our neighbours found their bodies in the rubble." Her father, Mohamed, had been dismembered by the Israeli tank shell.

Ismail is one of the community workers who is supporting Senah and her family as they try to rebuild their lives. "We have spent a lot of time with Senah" he says. "At first she couldn't even speak - she just cried and bit her nails. But eventually she began to trust us." When Senah's school re-opened after the ceasefire on 18 January, she was too scared to attend at first -she told Ismail she was frightened the rest of her family might be killed while she was out at school.

"Senah is now supporting her family as they start to deal with their experiences and how their lives have changed forever" says Ismail. "We will support her, and the whole family, for as long as they need us."

Please support the Christmas Appeal for the children of Gaza, launched by Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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