LONDON – Thousands of British Muslims and non-Muslims answered the call of a British-based international relief and development NGO to walk for Gaza, demonstrating their support to the Palestinian cause and raising funds to help the war-stricken strip.
“Saving Gaza children is essentially saving Gaza,” one of Walk for Gaza’s organizers told OnIslam.net.
Wrapped up warm with maps and refreshments, thousands of British people will take on the 5 miles of chilly terrain to raise funds for the children of Gaza on Saturday, January 25.
The Winter Walk for Gaza, held for the sixth year, has been organized by Muslim Hands in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester to finance its charitable programs in eastern Gaza.
Focused on bringing relief to the children of Gaza, the organization has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout the past years, determined to make a difference in the lives of Palestine’s forgotten children.
Offering a helping hand to Gaza children, isolated by Israel and mostly ignored by the international community for a lack of media coverage, Muslim Hands project represent a crucial lifeline for Gaza community.
Last year hundreds of Winter Walkers braved the freezing temperatures at London's Hyde Park and Manchester's Heaton Park and raised a staggering £117,000 to help Gaza's children.
With Winter Walks taking place in Birmingham, Manchester and Leicester in the next few weeks, the Muslim NGO said they were hoping to raise a lot more, making it possible for Gaza's children to receive psycho-social care and medical check-ups in a part of the world where there is not enough help available.
To achieve its aims, Muslim Hands chose to focus its efforts on bringing to the region medical relief by rehabilitating East Gaza only children hospital, Al Durrah Hospital.
Dr Ahmad Shatat, Al Durrah Deputy Head Department, explained in a video published on YouTube in 2013 how Muslim Hands has enabled children to rise above the physical and psychological trauma of war.
In 2013, Gaza Health Ministry hailed Muslim Hands’ efforts in providing medical care for Gaza children and their families, noting, “We would like to thank Muslim Hands staff and donors for their efforts in the development of Al-Durrah hospital which will have a positive impact on the patients and the doctors alike.”
Inspired by Muslim Hands’ efforts, British Muslims have shown incredible resourcefulness in helping the organization raise awareness toward Gaza children cause.
“Outside of all my work, I'm quite into my sports and recreational activities so when I read up on this Winter Walk for Gaza event, I thought... LET'S DO THIS! :D,” Thania Mukith, a British Muslim wrote on a special fundraising page she set on JustGiving.
“Main reason was because of what's been happening recently in Palestine... I want to do what I can to help support these kids who are pretty much caught in the cross-fire.
“Gaza is highly over-populated, with around 1.5 million people living in severe conditions, with very limited access to aid and support and they experience conflict on a regular basis.”
Mukith, who managed to raise over $1400, was moved by the terrible life children face in Gaza which added to their depression or psychological trauma.
“Children often become human targets. If a child is waking up to the sounds of bombs dropping over their homes, seeing lives lost in front of their eyes and forced to live 'on-the-run' to protect themselves from any danger...most likely, that child will suffer from some kind of depression or psychological trauma,” she wrote.
“Your money will allow 'Muslim Hands' to help provide psychological support and therapy to children who live in fear and help them overcome these fears and challenges. It's sad and quite frankly... unacceptable. Children should have the right to play, not fear for their lives...”
But Thania is not the only one to have felt inspired.
Rishandeen from London said “such organizations [Muslim Hands] are keeping the hope alive … Thank you Muslim Hands for caring so deeply for Gaza children.”
Reema Al Khalifa who participated last year said the experience profoundly made a difference in her life, as she realized that people could really make a difference once pulled together as a unit.
“Gaza is us and we are all Gaza … so let’s all stand for each other and support our children in their hour of need!”
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