Middle East Children's Alliance

The Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) is a non-profit organization working for the rights of children in the Middle East by sending humanitarian aid, supporting projects for children and educating North American and international communities about the effects of the US foreign policy on children in the region.
Jun 13, 2014

13 schools to get clean water this summer!

One of 26 kindergartens in Gaza with clean water!
One of 26 kindergartens in Gaza with clean water!

With your support, the Maia Project continues to grow and provide safe, clean water to children in the Gaza Strip. We are thrilled to report that this summer 13 new water purification and desalination units will be built and installed in schools and kindergartens including one at a school for the visually impaired. 

We are also working hard to ensure the 52 water purification units built in previous years continue to provide safe, clean water to 50,000 children. MECA's Gaza Project Assistant, Safaa El-Derawi, regularly visits the schools and kindergartens to test the water quality and troubleshoot and request repairs if there are any issues.

We have also continued our efforts to educate children about the water crisis in Gaza, the potential dangers of the contaminated water, and how these purification units work. This spring, Safaa visited 18 schools and led workshops with students, teachers, and headmasters. As a water engineer, Safaa is very knowledgeable on the subject and able to answer all of the tough questions that come her way. We were excited when she told us that the students asked tons of questions because we know they are learning if they are asking questions!

Rafah girls school has clean, safe water!
Rafah girls school has clean, safe water!
Lots of questions for Safaa on Gaza
Lots of questions for Safaa on Gaza's water crisis
Enjoying clean water at kindergarten!
Enjoying clean water at kindergarten!
Jun 10, 2014

MECA Staff Returns from Lebanon: More Aid Needed


Dear friends of the Middle East Children's Alliance

 I was just in Lebanon and saw first-hand the situation for refugee children and  families from Syria, now numbering over one million. I went to tent cities in the  Bekaa Valley and to Palestinian refugee camps where families are taking in new  refugees and sharing what little they have. Thanks to your generosity, MECA has  been able to provide help in the form of quilts, rain boots, baby clothes, diapers,  vitamins, and free doctor visits. But the families I met with need much, much  more. And hundreds of new families are arriving each week.
 
The living conditions were terrible everywhere but I was truly shocked by the conditions in Shatila, a camp built for 3,000 Palestinians in 1948. It is now home to over 22,000 refugees from Palestine and Syria. Many of the Palestinian families arriving in Shatila explained this is the second Nakba (Arabic for "catastrophe"). They lost their homes in Palestine in 1948 and lived in refugee camps in Syria for decades before losing everything for a second time. 
 
Every school we visited had switched to double shifts to accommodate new students. But many more children are unable to attend school because they lack clothes or shoes or because the registration fee is too high.
 
 In Ein el Hilweh Refugee Camp, I met Lama, an artist and teacher who has  created a project for children to help them express themselves through  puppets. The children make their own puppets and then act out their  feelings and experiences as well as talking about their identities as  refugees.
 
 A clinic I visited is running dangerously low on medicine and the staff  are unable to carry out many operations and treatments due to lack of  funding. They gave MECA a list of medicine and I promised to get it to them.
 
The need was so enormous that there’s no way that a small organization like MECA could fill it. But we are committed to doing as much as we can to try to make life somewhat bearable for refugees in Lebanon.
  
Throughout my trip I met with allies and friends and visited projects that MECA has supported in the past year. Together we made plans to provide more help for refugee families. Our partners will continue distributing milk and diapers to families with young children and personal hygiene items for women. I told them MECA would support educational classes in community centers for the children who can’t go to school and shoes and clothing for children’s who are otherwise eligible to enroll in schools. And I promised to take the lists of medicines like antibiotics and anesthesia and work on sending another medical shipment.
 
Now I need your help again to keep these promises. Please make a secure online contribution now to support this vital work for refugees from Syria.
 
Thank you for your continued generosity,

 

Sincerely,

 

Barbara Lubin

May 5, 2014

MECA Director Barbara Lubin visits!

Barbara Lubin and Um Hassan eating breakfast
Barbara Lubin and Um Hassan eating breakfast

MECA Director Barbara Lubin joined me for a site visit to the Masara Cafeteria project in April. 

We arrived at 8am but the women had already finished a batch of zaatar pies, cooked termos (lupini beans), and were getting ready to put fresh poprcorn in bags! 

Barbara and I chatted with the women about the project and shared our appreciation for their hard work. Each woman told Barbara a bit about herself and her family. One woman is a widow, another's husband is disabled. They spoke of their children, some who have been arrested and are even now sitting in Israeli jails. Barbara in turn told them about her four children and seven grandchildren. 

The women who run the cafeteria are dedicated volunteers. They began receiving small stipends for their efforts this year thanks to your support. It's just enough to help them purchase some of the necessities like flour, milk, and fresh fruits and vegetables so they can provide healthy food to their own families at home.

We talked about the importance of a good breakfast to children's development. We listened to updates about the village and its weekly demonstrations against the Apartheid wall and illegal Israeli settlements that are taking their land. And then we ate. In addition to the food made for the day, we also had the chance to sample a traditional Palestinian pastry called "malateet" made with milk, eggs, flour, and anise seeds. The women were preparing the dough for the children tomorrow but baked up one tray for us to try. Um Hasan smiled as she explained how the children think of it as a sweet but they are getting protein and nutrients too. 

It was Barbara's first visit to the cafeteria and she left full of inspiration (and delicious food!).

Thank you for support!

Bagging the popcorn
Bagging the popcorn
Protein boost: lupini and garbanzo beans
Protein boost: lupini and garbanzo beans
Traditional "malateet"
Traditional "malateet"
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