After the war the days seemed to go so fast. I think this is down to the intensity of the workload and all the horrors that we had witnessed.
People had a strange mix of feelings. There was sadness yet also pride. Gaza is awash with sad stories. But there is also pride – pride at the way people came to each others aid and the amount of solidarity that was shown.
Many families preferred to stay near the ruins of their destroyed homes – they don’t have the money to rebuild them or to find anywhere else. The crossings are open but only for basic things like food and medical supplies. Crucially however no construction material is coming in – how are families to rebuild their homes?
Despite all the destruction and sadness I am optimistic. This is because I can see the difference the work Islamic Relief and other NGO’s are doing can make in peoples lives.
We have been able to secure food for thousands of affected families, especially for those who lost their homes. We are still distributing food, such is the need. We are working on trying to remove the painful memories of the war from 40,000 children in Gaza through our psychosocial programme.
These are early days in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Gaza.
Our projects are continuing and the work is increasing. At the moment we are providing clean water for 70 schools as well as rehabilitating water wells and renovating damaged schools. Islamic Relief is also supporting the only artificial limbs centre in Gaza. Nearly 1000 people lost limbs as a result of the war.
The work has only just begun and many challenges lie ahead, first of all the siege of Gaza must be lifted so that everything that is needed to rebuild Gaza can get in. This is the first major challenge.
Sometimes l still can’t believe what happened in this small strip of land over those few weeks. It is also easy to forget that Gaza was bleeding before the recent war – due to the siege. Gazans are tough people though, I meet people everyday through my work and I find them resilient and patient. This gives me pride and honour to be working amongst such people.
Islamic Relief is putting forward proposals for projects worth millions of dollars. These are projects that will make a real difference to people’s lives. Over the coming months we will continue and increase our work. In January Gaza was constantly in the news as the bombs dropped. We may not be on the front pages but the tragedy of Gaza continues.