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.
Sep 5, 2014

A new school year!

The schools began early in Masara Village this year. Across the West Bank, schools began on August 23 and 24 but Um Hasan and the other women running this project started even earlier. They scrubbed and cleaned the cafeteria in preparation for another year of early mornings and hard work. Their dedication to preparing food for the 400 children attending school in their village is unwavering. 

I visited Masara last week on August 26. That day all of the schools in the West Bank had a moment of silence in solidarity with Gaza where children and families were still struggling under Israel's brutal military attack. (Thankfully a long-term ceasfire was announced that evening and schools are now set to start in Gaza in the coming weeks.) After the moment of silence, students streamed into the kitchen. Most days, the women pack up large boxes of the fresh food - a selection of all the items they made on that day - and walk them over to the kindergarten, elementary school and two high schools in the village. But due to the early release, the children came to the kitchen instead. 

First came a group of young boys from the elementary school. They eagerly grabbed the fresh muffins and chatted with the women. Then came some high school boys asking after the sfeeha (meat pies). Um Hasan promised to make some later in the week which led to some very big smiles. Several groups of high school girls came through. They took the muffins but asked about the manakeesh (zaatar pies). One of the women explained they didn't have time to make them today because of the early release but told them to come back tomorrow. 

Unfortunately, my photos of these smiling faces were lost when my computer crashed during the download but I will head back to Masara soon to get more photos to share with you. 

The women continue to work hard to prepare food for the children and are very thankful for your continued support which enables them provide healthy food to the children. This year we will cover the cafeteria rent, monthly purchases of food and cleaning supplies for the kitchen, small stipends for 4 of them women (Um Hassan insists on continuing as a volunteer as she has other sources of income from her organic farming), and we will finally get them the hot water heater which we postponed last year in order to provide water tanks in response to the growing water shortages. 

Aug 28, 2014

Activities interrupted by violence

Educational games - these girls have the answer!
Educational games - these girls have the answer!

Sadly, many of our literacy activities were interupted this summer.

Seven weeks of Israeli attacks from the ground, air and sea devastated the entire Gaza Strip. MECA and our parnters in Gaza had to switch priorities. Instead of offering summer camps, reading buddies, and providing new books for the renovated reading room at Rachel Corrie Children's Center, we were busy distributing food, water, and hygiene kits to displaced families who fled their homes. More than 500,000 people were living in schools or with friends and relatives during the attacks in hopes of finding a safer place for their children.

At least one child who was a member of our partner center in Rafah was killed by Israeli airstrikes, he was one of more than 500 children killed by Israeli attacks on Gaza this summer. 

MECA and all our friends and partners in Gaza are thankful for the start of a long-term ceasefire this week. As soon as we finish assessing the damage to our partners and projects, we will get back to work providing important recreational and educational activities for children. 

Meanwhile, our partner center in Jerusalem also had a tough center. Settler violence was on the rise and they canceled many of their outdoor activities to keep the children inside and safe from violence or kidnappings. The library was full to capacity throughout June, July and August as children came to read stories, play games, learn about creative writing, and compose messages to children in Gaza. 

We hope our next update will reflect on happier times for Palestinian children. 

From Jerusalem to Gaza:Writing letters to children
From Jerusalem to Gaza:Writing letters to children
Indoor activities for children in Silwan library
Indoor activities for children in Silwan library
Aug 11, 2014

We've started: girls hip-hop group records songs and children get ready for music lessons

Sophie during hip-hop practice in Dheisheh Camp
Sophie during hip-hop practice in Dheisheh Camp

Thanks so much for your donations to this project to enable children in Dheisheh Refugee Camp to learn new skills and to raise their voices. We are still fundraising to do more but have begun some amazing activities with children. 

Girls hip-hop group: After taking a day-long workshop in our partner organization, Shoruq, on hip-hop, a group of girls came to the center the next day and asked for support to start their own group. The girls are writing and performing songs about their lives and their hopes for the future. They've begun recording some of their songs and are working now on writing 7 songs in order to produce a full CD.

Sophie (picture in this report) raps:

My name is sophie, I'm a palestinian and that's my trophy
I have my own rights, I'm living in the dark
it's time to turn on the lights

(It's my right to learn in freedom)
(to go to school not to prison)
  (to play, to live, it's my right to express as a small child)
(Palestine, occupation, thousands of martyrs)
  (Innocent, persecuted. It's enough)

Palestine, occupation,
prisons, walls for segregation,
decisions for standing up, won't give up
until liberation

There is also a group of children age 8-12 that have joined Shoruq's summer camp and signed up for music classes during the school year. We are looking for funds to buy instruments for these children and to work on the original project idea of creating a chorus accompanied by child musicians. 

Girls hip hop group recording their first song!
Girls hip hop group recording their first song!
An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
  • $20
  • $50
  • $80
  • $90
  • $10
    each month
  • $20
    each month
  • $50
    each month
  • $80
    each month
  • $90
    each month
  • $
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Middle East Children's Alliance

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Middle East Children's Alliance on GreatNonProfits.org.