About the Situation
By the Numbers
More than 4 million people live in Palestine
35% of the households in the West Bank and 56% of the refugee households in Gaza live below the poverty line
More than 32% of Gaza’s workforce is unemployed
(Sources: United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the World Bank)
Decades of political instability have stifled economic development in Palestine. The vast majority of Palestinians, living inside the territories, and living as refugees in neighboring regions, depend on international aid for survival. Even with aid, one in three, Palestinians in the territories was food insecure in 2012, and food insecurity was on the rise in both the West Bank and Gaza. Foreign investment in the region has dropped, and crises in neighboring Egypt and Syria have further isolated Palestinians and closed off avenues for importing consumer goods. Unemployment rose in 2012, and real wages have been declining for years.
Continued violence throughout Palestine has severely affected the most vulnerable section of the population—the children. Many Palestinian children suffer from psychological trauma.
Reports from the Field
Read “IRUSA Team in Palestine,” to learn about a trip IRUSA team members took to Palestine in July 2011.
How Islamic Relief is Helping
Islamic Relief Worldwide has been providing humanitarian relief in Palestine since 1994, and Islamic Relief Palestine opened its office there in 1998 so that long-term development projects could be implemented and overseen by people in the field. Islamic Relief projects in the region have included food distribution, medical relief and orphan sponsorship. Islamic Relief has also established educational enhancement centers, care programs for traumatized children and a school for the deaf.
Here’s a breakdown of some programs Islamic Relief has supported in Palestine:
This project provides support to the surgical unit in Abu Al Hasan Al Qasim hospital in Yatta, Hebron. The effort delivers 10 surgical beds, needed accessories, and two operating rooms, complete with all necessary surgical equipment. More than 300,000 stand to benefit.
EDUCATION FOR EMPLOYMENT IN GAZA
More than 150 young people between the ages of 18-28 will receive vocational training and access to employment programs. Course work may include workplace success, business English, and training, such as construction management, IT, marketing and hospitality. This effort is being implemented in conjunction with Education for Employment.
FOOD DISTRIBUTION FOR REFUGEES IN GAZA
Through an effort with UNRWA, more than 19,000 families will receive emergency food aid to help combat hunger and undernutrition. Many of these families live on $1.60 to $3.65 USD per day, and some on even less than $1.60 USD a day. This program also opens up temporary job opportunities to many locals, who will be recruited to assist with packing and distributing the food.
This project aims to improve the living conditions of 100 orphan families in need of assistance across Jenin, Tubas, Bethlehem, and Hebron. Activities include the maintenance and rehabilitation of kitchens and washrooms; installation of insulation for roofs, windows, and doors; tiling and painting services; outdoor and indoor safety enhancement; and the repair and replacement of existing water, sewage, and electrical networks. Here are some before and after pictures of roofing, kitchen, and stair rehabilitation:
ORPHAN SUPPORT & SPONSORSHIP
OVERCOMING THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY STORM ALEXA IN WEST BANK
IRUSA donors are helping more than 500 Palestinians rehabilitate their shelters, animal pens, greenhouses, roads, grape leave structures and more that were damaged during Winter Storm Alexa in late 2013. The project will take place over three months.
This project is providing kidney dialysis machines and other equipment at two hospitals in northern Palestine.
WEST BANK LAND DEVELOPMENT FOR FARMERS
IRUSA donors are helping about 200 small-scale farmers in the Qalqeliah and Tulkarem districts by providing support for increased cultivated land space; increased water availability; road building to provide easy access to agricultural lands; and training workshops on topics, including water management, organic farming, pruning and pest control. Overall, more than 11,200 people will benefit from this initiative.
Islamic Relief USA has rehabilitated schools, trained teachers and provided books and toys to 40 kindergarten programs, benefitting more than 5,500 children, teachers and workers.
RAMADAN FOOD DISTRIBUTION
ADEQUATE EDUCATION IN THE WEST BANK
This project helped alleviate over-crowdedness at eight schools throughout the West Bank. Twenty-six additional classrooms, 6 computer and science labs and a school yard were built through this effort. More than 1,800 students, both boys and girls, benefited.
ASKAR COMMUNITY BASIC SCHOOL FOR BOYS
IRUSA funded the construction and equipping of a new school in the Askar refugee camp in Nablus. About 500 boys in grades 1-9 now attend the school, which is equipped with computer and science labs for a high-quality education. During the summer months, many of the boys gather with their friends and play sports, including basketball and soccer, in the school’s yard.
Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem provides pediatric hemodialysis services to patients who are brought in from West Bank cities. IRUSA donors helped provide additional machines, chairs and spare parts to help alleviate stress on overused equipment and to ensure that essential dialysis treatments are administered properly.
DIALYSIS UNIT AT ABU AL QASEM HOSPITAL
The equipment provided by Islamic Relief for this new dialysis unit is enabling access to regular treatments necessary for maintaining the health of kidney patients in and around the village of Yatta.
EMERGENCY AID 2012
After violence erupted across Palestine in November 2012, IRUSA worked with UNRWA to provide emergency aid and supplies, including food packages, for those who needed them most.
EMERGENCY RELIEF 2008
Islamic Relief teams distributed thousands of food packages and hygiene kits to families affected by the 2008 conflict. Islamic Relief also provided medical supplies and equipment, and supported the rehabilitation of emergency departments for local hospitals. The subsequent establishment of a crisis group psychosocial intervention project helped thousands of affected children.
More than 100 farmers have received assistance to prepare farmlands for planting and harvesting. Teams of relief workers have cleared land of rocks and constructed agricultural roads and terraces to make farming possible. Islamic Relief also provided 150 water cisterns and seedlings to help get farming underway.
INTENSIVE CARE UNIT
Six hospitals received equipment to improve their intensive care and emergency units, benefiting thousands.
SMALL ENTERPRISE FOR RURAL WOMEN
More than 110 women and their families benefited from this program, designed to equip women in the Tubas region with the tools and training necessary to become successful entrepreneurs, and to improve their economic situations and livelihoods.
UNRWA SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAM IN GAZA
Islamic Relief USA worked with UNRWA and local food suppliers to provide daily supplementary food assistance for more than 21,500 students attending UNRWA schools in Gaza. The program provided food aid to these children for a period of 104 school days, and helped students focus better in the classroom and work toward achieving academic success. Approximately 80% of surveyed students said they feel more energetic after they receive snacks—many of the students, who do not bring food from home to school, reported that they rely on these snacks as their sustenance during the school day.