Gaza agriculture was deeply impacted by Israeli bombing in 2014. Many fields – more than 42,000 acres of Gaza agricultural land – were destroyed, and others lay fallow due to lack of resources.

ANERA’s Gaza Land Restoration project aims to help Gaza farmers reclaim their land, grow new crops and prepare food to sell at the market.

Meet Abed Saleh Laham and his large family, one of 120 farming families supported by our donors. Abed has been a farmer for the past 70 years, and his family of some 70 people are finally able to successfully restore their land and livelihood.

Restoring Gaza Agriculture: The Story of a Farming Family


You can help Gaza farmers and other Palestinians and refugees in need. Donate today>>

A hospital’s capacity is determined, in part, by its number of beds. What is just as important is the quantity and quality of the mattresses on those beds. At Al Ahli hospital in Hebron, some of the mattresses are 23 years old. Head nurse Na’ila Abu Asaba says they’re as old as the hospital.

“We couldn’t afford to buy new mattresses of high quality so we are dependent on generous donations to help us give our patients the comfort they need and deserve.”

Thanks to the generosity of Physicians for Peace (PfP), ANERA was able to deliver 150 new antibacterial and waterproof mattresses to the largest Palestine hospital. The donated mattresses replace more than half the hospital’s current stock and their high quality will serve Al Ahli’s patients for years to come. This is PfP’s second hospital donation. In 2013, the group donated 45 mattresses for the surgery/ICU department.

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The majority of the older mattresses have served patients for over 15 years. Although some are good quality, a large number of the older mattresses are poorly made and over the years have deteriorated.

 

“Each Contribution Makes Us Stronger”

Hospital staff were overjoyed with the donation, says Na’ila. “It’s time to put our run-down mattresses to rest.” She has been working at the hospital since 1994. For the past four years she has been head nurse in the gynecology and obstetrics department (OB/GYN).   

Na'ila knows this Palestine hospital as a nurse and patient.

Na’ila, the head nurse, knows the importance of a good mattress, having delivered all 6 of her children here.

Na’ila says she knows the hospital both as a nurse and as a patient, having delivered her six children at Al Ahli.  She laughs when she says the hospital is like a second home. “I became a mother for the first time here and have matured here so my loyalty to this place is unimaginable.” Na’ila says the new mattresses are a welcome addition to her work in the OB/GYN department, which is the second largest maternity ward in the southern West Bank, boasting an average of 15 births a day!

New high quality mattresses at Palestine hospital.

One of 150 new high-quality mattresses, all set up in the hospital!

The past three months ending 2015 were exceptional, Na’ila adds, with 600 deliveries a month. Her staff says the new good quality mattresses will ensure that new mothers get a good rest after giving birth. “The older mattresses lost their sturdiness,” explains Naila. “We had women who had undergone C-sections who asked to be discharged early because the beds were so uncomfortable.”

ANERA was the first big donor to Al Ahli Hospital, providing $1.5 million to start its construction in 1988. The hospital serves an average of 150,000 patients a year and covers the health and medical needs of the Hebron governorate, especially in impoverished areas where medical services are lacking.

As the facilities continue to expand, Na’ila explains more supplies are needed. But the hospital cannot get them on its own: “Without contributions from our friends, like ANERA, we would not have survived this long. Each contribution makes us stronger and helps us to ease the pain and suffering of the sick and disadvantaged.”  

In Gaza, nothing goes to waste. In Ghassan Kanafani preschool in Jabalia, teachers help recycle materials like discarded clothing, cardboard, old toys, egg cartons and buttons to make puppets and other toys for the children.

“Ever since the closure ten years ago, the situation here in Gaza has been bleak,” explained teacher Zaynab El Jamal. “So many of our parents are unemployed. Many lost their homes during the 2014 Gaza war and still have no rooftop over their heads.”

Browse Photos of Gaza Children Playing with Their Creations!

Children at Ghassan Kanafani preschool in Gaza create dolls, toys and crafts from recycled materials.
©MZ, ANERA | January 2016

Gaza Children Have the Right to Play

Toys are an unaffordable luxury for most Gaza children, compared to the need for basics like food or milk. So, teachers looked for other options to create toys and learning materials from discarded items that were still in good condition. A teacher training organized by ANERA, with support from Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), guided teachers on how to transform everyday objects like the recycled products into toys and art. “I would never have considered these neglected scraps as useful but now whenever we see items that are still in good shape, we clean them, sort them and start making attractive products,” Zaynab said.

ANERA trainer Saed Humid added that children should not be robbed of their right to play and express themselves. “All kids need and deserve toys, and even the most impoverished kids in Gaza can find things to play with from whatever they have.”

Teaching Kids to Express Themselves Creatively

Inside the preschool, the children are excited by the creativity of turning the bits and pieces into something they can play with in art class or at their playtime learning center. “When they are focused, they can create plenty of toys. They have wild imaginations,” Zaynab smiled.

She says the children are delighted when they can make puppets, robots and monsters by gluing together the recycled items. Their parents are delighted by their children’s enthusiasm and relieved by the lessened pressure on their limited budgets. Teacher Zaynab El Jamal explained the parents also join in the fun, “We have taught parents how to transform old socks into puppets so all they have to do is find old socks, cut them, stuff them with other socks and use an old ball as head and finally decorate them.”

“We love to encourage kids to be creative, so what better way to tell stories than with their own puppets.”

From simple materials, children can create monkeys, tigers, princesses, or anything else they can imagine. “We love to encourage kids to be creative, so what better way to tell stories than with their own puppets,” Zaynab said. “We also make sure to encourage kids to move their bodies as they build and play with their new toys in order to stimulate motor skill, concentration and hand-eye coordination.”

Playtime is one of the core elements of ANERA’s early childhood education (ECD) program, which is an integral part of a holistic, integrated approach to early childhood development.

Early Childhood Development in Gaza and the West Bank

ANERA’s ECD program, with support from Islamic Relief USA, now reaches Al Najah in Khan Younis, Maise El Reem in Deir El Balah, Ghassan Kanafani in Jabalia, Ajyal El Tahreer in Khan Younis and Ghosn Al Zaytoun in Rafah. The project includes renovating preschools, equipping classrooms with child-appropriate furnishing and educational materials, and training teachers.  In total, ANERA’s ECD program supports 140+ preschools in Palestine.  Donate to ANERA>>

Ahmad Fayyad’s land in northern West Bank was once arid and uncultivated, but now it’s coming to life. Glistening in the sun, a thin carpet of luscious green alfalfa has brought a ray of hope to Palestinian farmers like Ahmad and his family of 13.

His wife Nujood, 41, is the dynamo of the family. Every morning, she wakes up at dawn to kneed fresh dough to prepare breakfast. Then she cleans and takes care of all the household chores before heading out to look after the livestock. She milks the herd of 500 sheep, feeds them and makes sure they are healthy. The family relies on the herd for their milk and meat. Nujood has been the sheep’s primary caretaker since Ahmad and she married 23 years ago.

Ahmad learned animal rearing from his father, but his involvement in farming is relatively recent. Together with his family, he grows vegetables like spinach, cabbage, cauliflower and cucumbers. Watering is a huge challenge for them, even with a nearby well. Often they had to buy expensive tankered water to irrigate their crops. They also had to pay for pricey, imported fodder to feed their sheep.

Sheep belonging to Palestinian farmers in Jenin

Nujood takes care of the family’s herd of 500 sheep! The sheep eat lots and lots of fodder.

Fayyad Family Moves Toward Self-Sufficiency

Now that Ahmed is part of ANERA’s Water Reuse Program, he doesn’t have to worry about buying water or fodder. Through the program, a newly formed cooperative oversees the distribution of treated wastewater to be used in irrigation. New infrastructure, training and the introduction of fodder crops helps farmers cultivate their land and maintain self-sufficiency.

Palestinian farmer Ahmad Fayyad admires new growth of alfalfa.

Ahmad’s son, Udai, admires the newly sprouted alfalfa he received from ANERA. He’s planted 16 acres of the fodder crop.

“I recently planted around 66 dunums [16 acres] of alfalfa,” Ahmed says. “This crop will help us feed our entire herd all year without relying on imported fodder or paying for irrigation water.”  He continues, “It is of excellent quality, and I am sure it will have a positive effect on our animal rearing business for years to come.”

In the Fayad family, everyone is engaged in keeping the farm running. Like Nujood, the girls help out with the livestock whenever they can, and the boys are often out in the fields with Ahmad. But education is a priority for the children. Ahmad and Nujood have proudly sent three of their oldest children to Al-Quds Open University to earn degrees.

With many mouths to feed and young minds to educate, Ahmad is happy with where this journey has taken him. He hopes that one day he can pass the tradition of Palestinian agriculture over to his children and grandchildren.

Palestinian farmers in Jenin plant alfalfa

When her two-year-old son fell ill, Tahani Zowaid rushed to the emergency room at Al-Sahaba clinic in Gaza. “AbedRahman had diarrhea for four consecutive days. He had a fever and was vomiting and never stopped complaining of stomach pain.”

After examining the youngster, Dr. Ahmed El Essi confirmed he had a viral infection, which had caused the diarrhea and vomiting. He assured Tahani her toddler would get well soon thanks to treatment with the oral rehydration powder “Drip Drops.” AbedRahman had to take the solution to restore fluids lost during his sickness. “It contains electrolytes,” explained Dr. El Essi, “The solution includes sodium, sugars and potassium that stimulate rehydration. It enables the body to absorb water more quickly into the bloodstream and so promote greater fluid retention.”

The doctor added that delays in treating AbedRahman would have worsened his health and probably have ended in a hospital stay because of severe dehydration. “Dehydration is the last thing we want for such a young child,” said Dr. El Essi. “If that happens, the child needs immediate care at a hospital, and IV to replenish fluids and at least a 24-hour observation.”

Children in Gaza Exposed to Unsafe Water

Children under five are particularly vulnerable to infections, diarrhea and dehydration from exposure to Gaza’s poor sanitary conditions and unhealthy water. Health experts list diarrhea as the second highest contributor to child mortality worldwide.

Doctor offers rehydration solution for children in Gaza like AbedRahman

Dr. Ahmed El Essi explains that children under 5 are especially vulnerable to illness caused by Gaza’s unhealthy water conditions.

Unlike intravenous saline drips for severe dehydration caused by diarrhea, the hydration powder Drip Drops is inexpensive, does not require special, sterile equipment and can be easily mixed and administered at home. Thanks to a donation from AmeriCares and contributions from individual donors, ANERA was able to provide 1,800 boxes of the hydration powder to 11 clinics across Gaza. Al-Sahaba clinic alone has used Drop Drops to treat some 35 cases of dehydration.

Doctors and parents welcomed the medicine. So did the children, who especially liked its lemon flavor. Dr. El Essi added, “Catching an illness like this early and protecting children against dehydration or organ failure can save them from a lot of suffering.”

A week after receiving the hydration powders, Tahani Zowaid returned to the clinic to report on her child’s progress. “It is unbelievable to see how a simple solution can be life-saving.”

In Gaza clinic, AbedRahman and his mother thankful for recovery.

A happier, healthier AbedRahman and his relieved mother are thankful the clinic had the proper treatment.

Your donations can help ANERA deliver life-saving medicines. Give today!>>