Oct 1, 2020

Two more homes in progress and a tuk-tuk

A new home in Oriba, Rafah
A new home in Oriba, Rafah

Our Gaza Emergency Relief Fund has been working to help four families get through significant hardship. We've been working with three Palestinian partner NGO's to fix houses and build a path to sustainable income for each family. Below, each partner is listed before the family they are supporting.

(Women Programs Center-Rafah) The Abu Suhiban family in the Oriba area of Rafah, Gaza has 7 children. The mother is allergic to gluten so besides barely being able to afford food in general, it's hard for them to buy the special bread that keeps her healthy. They have no kitchen, an inadequate bathroom, and no roof. They suffer during the winter season when their house floods during the rains. They only had a nylon tarp for extra protection. In addition to completing their home, the grant will also include appliances, a food basket, and clothing. Their barn will also be fixed so they can raise animals for extra food, and their animals will be safe from rats and other pests. 

(Al Amal Society) The Al-Omour family in the Al-Shouka area has 5 children. Their new house will have a new bathroom, kitchen, and an extra room. They did not have doors or windows so their home was exposed to the elements and animals. Their new home will be much more safe and private. Both the Al Amour and Abu Subihan family will have a new electrical and plumbing system.

(Al Amal Society) A third family, also in Al-Shouka, is nearly ready, but we're waiting until the construction group finishes with the Al-Omour family. Work was slowed down previously. On August 25th, a stay-at-home curfew was put in place in Gaza because cases of COVID beyond quarantine centers into Gaza's neighborhoods. The virus has been relatively contained until now. However, curfew restrictions in this neighborhood have eased since then, and people are allowed to be out between the hours of 8am-8pm. Both families of the Al Amal Society will receive grants for an income-generating endeavor that will provide a steady income for their families. We will let you know more about those businesses in our next report.

(Youth Vision Society) The fourth family is Mr. Khader's family, whom we helped earlier in the year.  We helped him restock and renovate his store. However, restocking his store really did not help -- few have money to pay for these goods.  Our team came up with a plan to help him purchase a tuk-tuk and have the cost repaid over time, fairly and without interest. If you don't know, a tuk-tuk is a type of small open vehicle with a long back like a pickup truck that is used to transport goods. Mr. Khader can make extra income as a tuk-tuk driver. Our Gaza City coordinator, Neveen, told us that tuk-tuks are actually more popular than taxis for transporting goods these days because it's an open vehicle and therefore, it is easier as a driver to meet COVID precautions. 

Thank you for your attention and continued support. Your contribution makes it possible for Rebuilding Alliance partners to provide in-depth intervention.  It has changed lives.

A new roof. Nylon tarps no longer needed.
A new roof. Nylon tarps no longer needed.
Kitchen and bathroom (w/ red tiles) on the left
Kitchen and bathroom (w/ red tiles) on the left

Links:

Sep 11, 2020

COVID-19 Test Kits, PPE's Delivered in Gaza, Just Before the Outbreak

30 min blood tests to identify COVID-19 antibodies
30 min blood tests to identify COVID-19 antibodies

The COVID-19 outbreak in Gaza neighborhoods was first reported on August 25th, and on August 31st, through the mediation of Qatar, Israel stopped bombing Gaza and allowed shipments of fuel while the Gaza government promised to stop the launch of incendiary helium balloons.  When the outbreak happened, the whole Gaza Strip was immediately put under emergency curfew leaving families without electricity, and therefore without water, most without food, in the summer heat. Now, the pandemic is raging in the Northern and Gaza Governorates (Gaza City area north) which are under strict stay-at-home curfew while the middle and South (Rafah area) are allowed to go out from 8am-8pm. 

As of today, Sep. 9th, 27,919 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the West Bank and Gaza with another 8,295 cases in E. Jerusalem. Israel has 137,565 cases and the numbers are rising in both Israel and Palestine. Today, there were 140 new cases reported in the City of Jerusalem, 102 in the Hebron Governorate, and 87 in the Gaza Strip.  From Ministry of Health reports, Gaza was testing less than 1% of the population each day — so there’s no way to know the scale of the outbreak. Everyone fears that with 6000 people per square km, the virus can spread like wildfire.
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We know how deeply you care and how much you want to help — and we ask you to hold those thoughts till next week when the GlobalGiving Little by Little Bonus WEEK begins. 

Starting at 9am ET on Monday, Sep. 14th till 11:59 ET on Friday, Sep. 18th, GlobalGiving will be matching each donation up to $50.00 by 50% — and what's more, GG will match recurring donations after 4 consecutive payments up to $200.  Please mark your calendar to give, starting at 9am ET on Sep 14th.  Please share this link, https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/palestine-emergency/ with friends to give them the opportunity to give too.

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So far, our Palestine, We Care: COVID-19 Relief Trust has raised $98,110 USD. Over half this amount was matched by a 1:1 matching grant from the Taawon Foundation, allowing us to grant a total of $135,000 to eight Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in the West Bank and Gaza. These grants supplied:

  • PPE’s, COVID-19 testing kits, and medicines to two NGO hospitals in Gaza, the Ahli Arab Hospital and the Al Awda Hospital, and
  • Over 900 food boxes and hygiene supplies to families in Gaza through our four partner NGOs there, and two new partner NGOs in the South Hebron Hills and in Bethlehem.

To see more about our PPE and food distribution, please watch the two short films linked to this report. 

We want to tell you more about the COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits and how they are being used. 

Al Awda Hospital ordered 505 COVID-19 IgG/IgM rapid test kits that provide results in 30 minutes. The test kits made it through the blockade and arrived in time at Al Awda Hospital, about a month before the outbreak. Those kits and the PPE's are now making it possible for Al Awada Hospital to provide emergency, urgent surgeries and maternity services as the main maternity hospital in the northern region of the Gaza Strip — all this while keeping their staff safe.

A quick google search describes the IgG/IgM rapid test as 'a blood test designed to detect antibodies (immunoglobulins, IgG and IgM) against the coronavirus that causes the disease called COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to an infection and are specific to that particular infection. They are found in the liquid part of blood specimens, which is called serum or plasma, depending on the presence of clotting factors. IgM and IgG may either be ordered together or separately.

Having an antibody test is helpful if:

  • your health care provider believes you may have been exposed to the coronavirus which causes COVID19 based on your current or previous signs and symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing);
  • you live in or have recently traveled to a place where transmission of COVID-19 is known to occur;
  • you have been in close contact with an individual suspected of or confirmed to have COVID-19; or
  • you have recovered from COVID-19.


Haneen Wishah, External Relations and Reporting Officer for Al Awda Hospital, explained how they are keeping staff and patients safe: 

"Al Awda Hospital requires an IgG and Igm test for every patient who arrives at the triage point with signs of infection, e.g. with fever.  Each test requires that we draw blood and then process the samples at our laboratory here at Al Awda Hospital.  Patients testing positive are transferred to the central lab of the Ministry of Health for a nasal COVID-19 PCR test."

"When the COVID-19 emergency was first announced in Gaza, we at Al Awda Hospital divided our staff into four groups with each group staying over at the hospital for 10 days and nights straight. They can't go home. We test each member of our staff team when they first arrive, midway after 5 days, and when they finish the 10 days and are ready to go back home."

So what's needed next?

From Haneen, "The thing is, we have the staff all together for 10 consecutive days. We ask your help to:

  • Provide healthy meals to the healthcare workers, with lots of fruit and vegetables to strengthen their immune systems; 
  • Please send 2000 rapid test kits, a four-fold increase; and
  • A new round of PPE's including 6000 head shields is needed.

Meanwhile, our Social Service NGOs ask your help to deliver food and hygiene boxes to 200 families each, focusing on families with disabled, and women-run households.

These are important, big goals.  We can do this.  Please set your alarm for giving on September 14-18th, and please ask friends to join us.

Al Awda Hospital drawing blood to test for COVID19
Al Awda Hospital drawing blood to test for COVID19
Really great: the Rapid test kits crossed blockade
Really great: the Rapid test kits crossed blockade
Medical supplies arrived!
Medical supplies arrived!
Masks and more masks
Masks and more masks
Now the streets are empty, Gaza in lockdown
Now the streets are empty, Gaza in lockdown

Links:

Sep 11, 2020

Permission Granted: Hot Meal Delivery in Rafah, 3 days / week during COVID-19 curfew

Mrs. Najah and workers from the WPC-Rafah
Mrs. Najah and workers from the WPC-Rafah

I am happy to report that our grant has transferred successfully. Mrs. Najah and her team received permission to deliver during closures, and they are ready to begin hot food delivery, 3 days/week, starting next week!

This is all about details:  Rest assured, as always, Rebuilding Alliances continues our own due diligence to assure full compliance with all U.S. rules and regulations especially with regard to our grants to our Palestinian NGO partners in Gaza.  Regarding the transfer of funds for this project, GlobalGiving transferred the World Refugee Week donations at the end of July.  Rebuilding Alliance had changed credit unions in favor of upgraded fincial services however, the new credit union had little experience with international wire transfers. We had to find a better way to bank — and we did.  We moved Rebuilding Alliance's grantmaking account to a commercial bank with lots of experience with international wire transfers. Success, and just in time.

As you may know, on August 25th, Gaza went into emergency curfew because, for the first time, cases of COVID-19 appeared outside of quarantine centers at Gaza's two entry points.  Mrs. Najah's emergency food program at the Women Programs Center-Rafah (WPC) is needed even more now as Gaza's already high unemployment numbers have risen due to COVID. Many are going hungry.

Next week, starting at 9am ET on Sep. 14th, GlobalGiving will be matching each donation up to $50.00 by 50%, and matching recurring donations up to $200.  Please mark your calendar, and share this with your friends to give them the opportunity to give.

To get their delivery permit, Mrs. Najah and WPC formed a committee of Palestinian NGOs in the area and together, they received special permission from the Gaza Government's Ministry of Interior to deliver aid directly to families.  The WPC has permission prepare and deliver hot meals to homes all over Rafah. WPC plans to deliver to 200 families a day with different areas targeted on each day so they can serve as many as possible.

Our challenge now is to fund next month's dinners.  Our goal is to raise $23,000 per month to make 2400 meals and feed 12,000 people each month.

Thank you for holding the people of Gaza in your light. Your contribution is much-needed and appreciated, and if you can make a recurring donation next week, please do.

A hot meal makes all the difference
A hot meal makes all the difference
Your $10 donation send dinner to a family of 5
Your $10 donation send dinner to a family of 5

Links:

 
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