As we near the end of the year, we are so thankful to those who have contributed to the Brighten the Future of Gaza's Children project!
Good news: the Mpowered company is providing an in-kind matching grant! For every Luci Original light we send to Gaza's children, they will also send one Luci EMRG light too! This means we can ask our NGO partners to give each family three Luci Originals and a Luci EMRG for each child!
Your incredible support over this past year has allowed us to really ramp up since this project. We launched this project nearly a year ago because the daily rolling blackouts make even the simplest of tasks so difficult in Gaza. How can kids do their homework and study in the evening when the sun has gone down? Kerosene lamps and candles are too dangerous – there had to be another option.
Our first pallet of Luci Lights arrived in Gaza in April and was distributed by our Palestinian NGO partners, including Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, the Women’s Project Center in Rafah, and the Al Basma Club for the Disabled. I was able to be there to help with distribution and the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme team had me join their social workers to go with them to each family's home. Some were living in tents, some in caravans (mobile homes like in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina) while awaiting a new house. Others were in their new house already or moved-in even during construction. All had experienced terrible loss. All I had to give was our little light - and how graciously and warmly they were received and appreciated.
The second pallet arrived in June and the Al Basma Club for the Disabled managed distribution to the disabled community in Northern Gaza. This second pallet was particularly meaningful because it arrived during the holy month of Ramadan, when parents give small lanterns to their children (called a fanoos) as a reminder to be a light in the darkness. They also included all 90 families in one of the caravan parks. Back in April, we were only able to give them to 5 families and that nearly caused a riot. I kept my promise: now every family received one - a caravan park filled with light.
Our third pallet arrived in September, and the Women's Program Center in Rafah carefully and thoughtfully distributed them to children and families in need. These photos and the delightful video by photographer Mohammad Mansur are all from the 3rd shipment.
"Yes, our Luci lights are still working! We are very happy with them" reports Kareem the oldest child (now adult) in the family whom Rachel Corrie sought to protect. Kareem and his wife just had their first child.
We're placing our order now for shipment of our 4th pallet - much bigger this time: 2880 Luci Originals plus 2880 Luci EMRG. Since Israeli and Palestinian Customs had only approved the first 3 pallets, we are now applying for pre-approval for our next three pallets. The State Department and members of Congress are standing by to help if we experience any delays — so far so good.
Thank you again for supporting the Brighten the Future of Gaza’s Children project and for being a light in the darkness! Please let us know if you would like to raise money for this project by hosting a giving table with Luci Lights at your place of worship or school — or a talk at your Rotary Club. We hope to bring a speaking from Gaza in the year to come and are starting now to work through the details.