Rebuilding Alliance

Rebuilding Alliance is dedicated to rebuilding war-torn communities and bringing the world together to make them safe. Our vision is a just and enduring peace in Israel and Palestine with equal value, opportunity, and security for all.
Oct 6, 2015

Give the Gift of Light to Children in Gaza - next container kicks off on Wednesday!

Give the gift of light to children in Gaza!
Give the gift of light to children in Gaza!

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your continued support of the Backpacks for Gaza project! We are happy to announce that the container arrived to port on September 22 and our team is working dillegently to make sure all of the necessary paperwork is finalized to assure its safe passage from Ashdod to the children who need it most.  We're expecting clearance by early next week and our team is applying to be there in November to help with distribution.

I am happy to announce that our next container will include solarpowered, inflatable lights with each backpack kit with school supplies and books to give children and their families a way to  read, do homework or play at night despite ongoing power outages in the Gaza strip.  The lights are called Luci Lights and the company who makes them, Mpowerd, is providing them at a 40% discount for our project, now called Solar Lights and Backpack Kits for Gaza's Children!

We are kicking off our next major fundraising campaign for the next container this Wednesday, October 7th. Wednesday is the final Microsoft Youthspark Matching Grant Competition, meaning that there is $75,000 in matching grants available for all donations!   The matching grants start at NOON Eastern / 9am Pacific and ends at 11:59 Eastern / 9pm Pacific. 

We are excited that this project is a Microsoft Youthspark program, and hope that you will join us as we compete to win thousands of dollars in bonus prizes for Gaza's children by having the largest number of unique donors.  Please set your alarm for this Wednesday, Octover 7th, and share a message of hope with your friends and family by asking them to give too - give Gaza's children hope for a brighter future by giving the gift of light.

With many thanks,

Kelly Leilani Main 

P.S.  If you know of a major donor who would like help buy or supply new warm winter clothes and boots for Gaza's children in need, please give me a call at 650 325-4663. 

Each kit will now have Luci Lights!
Each kit will now have Luci Lights!
Wednesday is the last Youthspark matching day!
Wednesday is the last Youthspark matching day!
Oct 6, 2015

New school year is coming

Al Aqaba
Al Aqaba's Kindergarteners performing on Land Day

Dear Friends,

During the last school year in Al Aqaba, there were many chlldren whose parents were unable to cover tuition. In May, thanks to your help, we sent a grant of $6746 to Al Haq Kindergarten in Al Aqaba to cover expenses like electricity, salaries and fuel for the busses. These are vital grants to keep the kindergarten opening.

Unfortunately, the number of children dropping out of kindergarten continued.   115 out of 136 who first enrolled, graduated and are now starting their first grade of elementary school.  Twenty-one little children dropped out.

As they faced these difficulties, Al Aqaba continued to think about this new school year and how to attract students not only from Al Aqaba but also from the surrounding area to provide them with a good learning experience. We want to keep the tuition as affordable it is (100 NIS/month for the first child, 80 NIS/month for the twin — this is a few of $25/mo or less) which is less than the other kindergartens in the area so to win as many students as possible. We know how important it is to have as many children as possible there in the village — the teachers give them a nurturing, safe environment to help them learn and grow, and they become the heart of the village too, pouring energy, life and continuity this remarkable place.

The principle and teachers ask your help to provide scholarships to thirty one Kindergarten students this year.   To fund all 31 tuitions for 9 months, we ask your help to raise $6975. 

Our project qualifies for the Microsoft Youth Spark Matching Grant.  This Wenesday Oct. 7th, starting at 12pm Eastern time, your donations up to $1000 will be matched -- that's a great way to propel this Scholarship program forward.

Please mark your calendar for Wednesday!

Sincerely,

Kindergartener performers on Land Day
Kindergartener performers on Land Day
I was there for this remarkable day!
I was there for this remarkable day!
The new governor of Tubas was there!
The new governor of Tubas was there!
So many parents!   All taking pictures!
So many parents! All taking pictures!
Big sister watching the performance
Big sister watching the performance
Aug 17, 2015

The first shipping container is on its way!

Adam and Ahmed load the container!
Adam and Ahmed load the container!

Wow, so much has happened in one short month.

On July 22, we received formal pre-clearance approval from Israeli Customs, meaning our shipment of Backpack Kits and children's books has security clearance for entry into Israel and into Gaza. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo’s office and Senator Dianne Feinstein’s offices both made inquiries to the Israeli Consulate and the Israeli Consul General weighed-in on our behalf. It is good to have such broad support for this important project!

This was the good news we had been waiting for all summer, and it kicked us into action. The 3,888 backpack kits were shipped from BluSource in Oklahoma to Mohegan Lake, New York just two weeks ago, and on Sunday, August 9, over one hundred volunteers gathered at the Hudson Valley Islamic Center in the town of Mohegan Lake to load our first shipping container and send it on its way!

The volunteers all put in one kit of school supplies, one book, and one letter of encouragement. The books, which came from from author Leila al-Haddad’s Baltimore, Maryland book drive, remind all of us of the joy of reading and its important role in inspiring the imagination - what a blessing to have the chance to send such a simple and meaningful gift to children cut off from the outside world.

On Sunday morning, the busses started arriving - one from Patterson, New Jersey, one from the Bronx, and a multitude of private cars from the surrounding area - and dozens of volunteers spilled out into the large gym where the backpacks were displayed in all different colors.

What an amazing job everyone did - putting in the school supplies, then the books, then letters of encouragement, repacking the boxes and then loading them into the 20 ft. shipping container… it was truly a sight to behold!

The day ended with a campfire, s’mores, live music, and a moving speech by the New York chapter president of the Council on American Islamic Relations, Ms. Afaf Nasher, highlighting the importance of education in our work and in providing a future for Gaza’s children and their families.  She also mentioned compassion and spoke about Rachel Corrie.  The chair of the Hudson Valley Islamic Center, Zead Ramadan, thanked everyone for joining us.   Rebuilding Alliance's Executive Director, Donna Baransk-Walker, spoke too, describing how Khaled Nasrallah, part of the family whom Rachel Corrie stood to protect, had suggested this project as a public and positive way for Americans to help the children who are most in need in Gaza.

From Adam Ramadan, our New Jersey Coordinator:

"The Backpacks for Gaza Container Kickoff event was one of the most memorable events ever! I can just remember looking at the backpack-o-meter in the early stages of the project and thinking to myself, how am I going to reach our goal? From that moment on, I made sure to give in my all for this project. Fast forward a few months, the generosity of family, friends, and community members made this project a great success. Seeing over one hundred people come together to pack backpacks for the neediest children of Gaza was such a remarkable scene. A true image of unity and selflessness. It wasn’t only about the backpacks, even though supporting the education of children in Palestine is critical, but this project gave an opportunity to show the world that unity can uplift the siege on Gaza. We are one step closer to ending the siege on Gaza."  - Adam Ramadan

Rebuilding Alliance and its partners want to thank you wholeheartedly for your support throughout this process - whether it be with your donations or with your good thoughts, and for your patience as we navigate the complexities of security clearance and customs requirements.  We'll keep you posted as we work through the details of distribution.

As the container now makes its way across the Atlantic to the Port of Ashdod, we are excited to continue this project and prepare for the next shipment.

Would you like to host the next container in your community? Send us an email and let us know. Still want to give? A donation now will help us pay for Patriot Act compliance as well as for transportation costs on this final leg of this journey to ensure this shipment reaches the children who need it most.

With great thanks,

Kelly Leilani Main

Gaza Project Coordinator 

Donna, Kelly, Adam, and more great volunteers!
Donna, Kelly, Adam, and more great volunteers!
Robin shows off the thousands of donated books!
Robin shows off the thousands of donated books!
It was a lot of work!
It was a lot of work!
Volunteers writing letters of encouragement
Volunteers writing letters of encouragement
Finally, 500 boxes packed, & with room to spare!
Finally, 500 boxes packed, & with room to spare!

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