Mostafa El-Ghosein, manager of ANERA's in-kind medicine donation program in Gaza.

FAQs | ANERA Response to Gaza Crisis

August 14th, 2014 by ANERA

How will my donation be used to help Gaza and how soon?

How and why are you able to get things into Gaza so quickly and consistently?

How much of my donation is used to cover ANERA’s overhead?

How do I know I can feel safe donating to ANERA?

How can I help Gaza other than to give donations?

I would like to collect supplies (food, clothes, toys, hygiene supplies, surplus medical disposables, etc.) to send to Gaza. Can ANERA help me get them there?

I want to travel to Gaza to help with humanitarian relief efforts. Can ANERA help me get there?

Why do you sometimes buy medicines on the local market and how do you decide specifically who to buy from?

Why haven’t I ever heard about ANERA?

How can ANERA ensure that donations serve their intended beneficiaries and not parties like Hamas?

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How will my donation be used to help in Gaza and how soon?

With a staff of 16 in Gaza – Palestinians who all come from the communities they serve – ANERA is able to quickly identify areas of need and respond immediately as funds become available. Right from the beginning of the bombardment, ANERA was able to deliver vital medicines and medical supplies as well as food parcels. We expedite our response whenever possible by purchasing relief items in Palestine. We also have a very successful in-kind donation program that delivers millions of dollars worth of medicines and health care supplies. When hostilities cease, ANERA’s engineers will begin the work of rebuilding schools, clinics and water/sanitation networks.

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How and why are you able to get things into Gaza so quickly and consistently?

ANERA has been working in the West Bank and Gaza since 1968. We have had an office in Gaza for 30 years and have shipped things into the area for as long as we have existed. ANERA’s in-kind shipment program follows a clear set of stages that has proven effective every time. Two things stand out: ANERA is excellent with handling all of the logistical paperwork as well as getting clearance and coordination beforehand. We have a professional relationship with the authorities and are transparent in everything we do.

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How much of my donation is used to cover ANERA’s overhead?

ANERA’s overhead is only 3.5%. The costs of ANERA’s programs and expenses vary each year, however we consistently maintain a standard of roughly 96 cents per dollar going directly to program work. For the most recent allocations, please see the financial section of our annual report.

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How do I know I can feel safe donating to ANERA?

Since 1968 we have earned trust by delivering results. ANERA is audited annually and posts financial statements online. We screen funders, partners and program recipients using software to comply with the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Controls. USAID and other major governmental and institutional donors regularly award ANERA large grants even in delicate locations like Gaza. We are consistently a top-rated organization: 4-star charity with Charity Navigator, A-rated charity with the Institute of Philanthropy and meet every standard of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise-Giving Alliance. Read more about why you can trust ANERA.

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How can I help Gaza other than to give donations?

The extent and reach of our response depend on the amount of donations ANERA receives. The best way for you to help people in Gaza is to spread the word about what is happening there and how ANERA is addressing their needs. Forward our emails, share our Facebook and website postings, retweet our Twitter posts, and/or pass along our newsletters and mail appeals. More people need to be aware of what ANERA is, why we can be trusted, and how we are making a difference. As one of our supporters, you are the best and most credible ANERA advocate in your community of friends, family and colleagues.

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I would like to collect supplies (food, clothes, toys, hygiene supplies, surplus medical disposables, etc.) to send to Gaza. Can ANERA help me get them there?

While we appreciate the thoughtfulness that caring people invest in these collection efforts, for the most part we cannot accept these kinds of donations from individuals. Instead, we encourage people to donate money. This is for multiple reasons:

Volume. ANERA typically sends 20- and 40-foot containers of in-kind materials to the Middle East. This is by far the most cost-effective way to send donated goods as a container can fit a enormous volume of materials and many of our wonderful in-kind donors cover the cost of shipping.

Storage. Some organizations and individuals have asked us if we can include supplies from them in one of the containers we are already planning to ship. Unfortunately, the answer is still no. ANERA does not maintain U.S.-based warehouse space. The containers we send to the Middle East are shipped directly from the warehouses of our in-kind donor partners. For safety and quality control reasons, these donors will not allow ANERA to add donations to their carefully inspected and professionally packed containers.

Speed and Expense. It is a much slower process to bring goods in from abroad rather than to purchase them locally. To do so, ANERA would need to get the customs export and import documentation in order; arrange for and cover the cost of shipping; get the items approved through local authorities (which takes 6 weeks at a minimum); pay for the costs of clearance, storage, demurrage, and transportation to our local warehouse; receive and inventory them in the warehouse; and then finally distribute them. All told, this can cost us upwards of $18,000. With funds in hand, staff can immediately and specifically respond to the needs on the ground as they arise. This approach has the added benefit of supporting the local economy.

ANERA does accept in-kind donations from established organizations, such as AmeriCares, Direct Relief, Lutheran World Relief, and United Methodist Committee on Relief. These are organizations whose business is to send in-kind donations – from medicines and supplies to hygiene kits and baby care items – to the communities that need them most. Having done this work for decades, they have an effective and well-tested set of processes designed to respond specifically to the needs ANERA communicates to them through our on-the-ground staff. Read more about our in-kind work in Gaza.

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I want to travel to Gaza to help with humanitarian relief efforts. Can ANERA help me get there?

Your passion and commitment to help people in Gaza is inspiring and greatly appreciated. It is not feasible for ANERA to support anyone entering Gaza at this time. The borders are closed and anyone entering requires Israeli approval. Furthermore, while relief workers such as ANERA staff would be very moved by your gesture, as your hosts, they would be distracted from their critical work. Your presence would require that they shift energy and effort away from their own families and humanitarian deliveries, to ensure that you are properly trained in the work involved and keep you out of harm’s way. Please, heed our request not to pursue trying to go into Gaza now.

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Why do you sometimes buy medicines on the local market and how do you decide specifically who to buy from?

Typically, most medicines ANERA delivers are donated by reputable organizations, not purchased. In an emergency situations, however, purchasing can be the quickest way to get the medicines to where they are urgently needed. We go to manufacturers in the area, such as Jerusalem Pharmaceutical, to make those purchases and to support the local Palestinian economy.

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Why haven’t I ever heard about ANERA?

ANERA is well known in Palestine, where our programs are having a big impact on people’s lives. In order to maintain our very low fundraising and overhead expenses, we have historically limited our advertising and marketing expenditures. ANERA depends mainly on dedicated supporters to spread the word about our impact and efficiency.

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How can ANERA ensure that donations serve their intended beneficiaries and not parties like Hamas?

ANERA’s policy is to supply assistance to only legitimate and capable institutions and to comply with U.S. laws. We filter individuals and agencies against computerized lists of terrorist organizations cited by the U.S. Treasury Department,  Office of Foreign Assets Control list. Because Hamas is designated as a “terrorist group” by the U.S. State Department, ANERA does not work or even coordinate with them. 

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Lebanon hospitals identified the first case of the deadly Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in May and the topic of controlling the spread of infections in hospitals has become a priority. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society’s (PRCS) Hamshari Hospital is not taking any chances.

30,000 surgical face masks for Lebanon’s PCRS hospitals to prevent spread of infection. 

Mounir El-Hajj Khalil is responsible for control of infections in the hospital, located in Saida in southern Lebanon. He lists several key steps nurses are taking to preventing the spread of germs: isolation of the patient, hand washing and wearing personal protective equipment like facemasks.

Health masks are expensive and the hospital can’t normally afford to purchase them, Mounir says. But, thanks to an AmeriCares donation of nearly 30,000 particulate respirator surgical face masks, 11,200 of which went to Hamshari Hospital, Mounir has been able to ensure this critical step in controlling the spread of infectious diseases is taken.

Working with long-time partner Health Care Society (HCS), ANERA delivered the in-kind shipment in the Spring of 2014 to Hamshari and other PRCS hospitals. Now every department of Hamshari Hospital has a box of the masks, along with instructions on how best to use them.

Lebanon: Hamshari hospital nurse wears new protective masks to help prevent spread of infection.

Nurses wear new protective masks and gloves to prevent spread of infection.

HCS Executive Director Bahija Mayassi underlined the importance of such shipments, “Providing these important items and other medical equipment allows the hospitals to provide access for more patients to quality health services. Our support is critical because the hospitals do not have the financial resources and rely on donations to carry on.”

At Hamshari Hospital, Mounir was grateful for the high quality items. “The N95 facemasks we received are of very good quality. I learned about them during my training on infectious disease control, but this is the first time that I’m actually really using them.”

Mounir started working at Hamshari Hospital in 1999 as a trainee nurse while he completed his studies at Al-Quds Nursing Institute. He joined the staff in 2003 and soon specialized in prevention, monitoring and control of infections.

“There are two cases for which we use the N95 masks:” explains Mounir, “to prevent the spread of a contagious disease like MERS or tuberculosis and to protect patients with low immunity, especially patients with AIDS or leukemia.” Mounir adds, “the masks are essential because they can help block both the entry and exit of germs.”

Cases of tuberculosis are not very common but once or twice a year, Hamshari Hospital receives a patient who needs to be isolated while awaiting transfer to a specialized institute. Mounir explains that patients with low immunity must be protected from any minor infection, which could prove fatal to them. “In these cases, the medical staff and anyone visiting the patient should wear a mask in the patient’s room.”

Mounir trained five head nurses on their correct use and they then trained the hospital’s 78 nurses, so everyone knows how to reduce infection risks.

“If we happen to get a case of MERS, we are ready to deal with it like any other infectious disease,” says Mounir confidently. “Our medical staff is trained to control infectious diseases and now we have what we need to do that.”

With funding from the Zakat Foundation, ANERA provided food parcels to hundreds of families in Gaza City.

Gaza: Emergency Food Parcels for Displaced

July 22nd, 2014 by lkassman

While bombs rain down on Gaza, ANERA’s in-kind team managed to deliver two shipments of food parcels to Gaza families. The first shipment was distributed in Deir Al Balah, Gaza City, and Beit Lahia. The second went to the southern Khan Younis and Rafah areas.

Mohammad Ghossein, ANERA project officer: “I go out despite the bombing. I keep thinking of people in need. We have to show them that they are not alone.”

With help from the Bayader Society and other local partners, and through word-of-mouth and phone calls, 950 families were able to pick up the much-needed parcels. Volunteers also risked their own lives to deliver parcels to residents’ homes where it was too dangerous for them to congregate outside.

The funds came from the Zakat Foundation of America and individual donors to respond quickly to emergency needs. ANERA was able to purchase everything locally from different suppliers. These parcels go beyond typical food relief and contain a variety of items such as lentils, macaroni, tuna fish, beans and cooking oil for families to make whole, healthy meals during Ramadan.

ANERA delivers emergency food parcels to 950 families in Gaza.

Mohammad Abu Migbel was grateful for the help as his family’s food supplies were running low. They had evacuated their home because the bombings were so near. “We heard huge explosions and our house was filled with rocks, dust and smoke. So we decided to escape at 11:00pm,” Mohammad explained with a grim look on his face. “We couldn’t wait any longer.”

Gaza youngster helps her family take ANERA's emergency supplies back home.

Gaza youngster helps her family pick up emergency supplies

The 54-year-old father of eight had been injured in the 2009 war, along with five of his family members. “We decided this time to evacuate our home and avoid danger. We went to a relative’s house in nearby Bani Suhaila.” But Mohammad is still worried. “We’re not sure if it’s the right decision because there is no safe place now anywhere.”

He described what it was like when he ventured out to receive ANERA’s food parcel. “The streets are deserted. Stores are closed. And, it dawned us that the people handing out the food parcels are not safe either. So we are doubly grateful.” With 20 family members crammed into one room and food running low, Mohammad was relieved that some aid was available. “The assistance came on time. We really needed it and will use it sparingly.”

Asmahan Fayad, also welcomed the food parcels. She had run barefoot from her home when the bombing started, along with her five children. “We left with nothing. Everyone went in different directions. I lost sight of my husband and ended up sleeping in front of a mosque with my kids.”

Then, she said someone offered them a shelter for few days.”UNRWA schools are overcrowded and I wasn’t sure where to go,”she explained. “My kids wake up at night to ask me if we are still alive. I just try to give them hope. But is this life?”

With funding from Zakat Foundation, ANERA was also able to deliver much-needed Ramadan food parcels to ten preschool teachers and 27 families in need in three West Bank villages. The families included mostly widows and divorced women with several children who had very little income to purchase such quantities of food.

A Gaza father signs up for ANERA's emergency food parcels during Gaza war.

A Gaza father signs up for ANERA’s emergency food parcels during Gaza war.

The flood of refugees into Lebanon from the Syrian conflict has created a humanitarian crisis that is straining Lebanon’s resources.  Humanitarian and development organizations like ANERA have stepped up to the challenge of providing relief aid and also support for families trying to find some sense of normalcy under difficult conditions. In recognition of World Refugee Day, we honor the men, women and children who face the daily challenge of survival but never give up hope for a more peaceful future.

World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon

World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon

Baby Leen was born shortly after her family fled the conflict in Syria and reached Ein El Helweh camp in Lebanon.

World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon

Sedra, 3, fled Syria's conflict with her family more than two years ago and now lives with eight others in a one-room shack in Burg El Shemali camp in Lebanon.

World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon

Ahmed, 5, and his father Ahmad Abu Baker receive a relief package in Rashidiyeh camp, Lebanon after fleeing the bombings in Yarmuk, Syria.

World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon

Two young refugee teens enjoy a day of fun on the soccer field ANERA refurnished in Beddawi camp, Lebanon.

World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon

Young refugee girls enjoy a game of soccer in the stadium ANERA refurbished in Beddawi camp in Lebanon

World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon

Zacharia is a impish three-year-old now lives in Ein El Helweh camp in Lebanon. He is the sole male of his family after this father disappeared in Syria's conflict.

World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon

15-year-old Batoul is a refugee from Syria. Her arm was injured in a bombing in Syria but now safe in Burj El Burajneh camp Lebanon she has regained the use of her arm and helps with the cooking.

World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon

Tending a flourishing vegetable garden in Nahr El Bared refugee camp in Lebnanon.

World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon

Refugee children from Syria meet for some fun activities during one of ANERA's Open Day celebrations in Burj El Burajneh camp in Lebanon

World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon thumbnail
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon thumbnail
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon  thumbnail
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon  thumbnail
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon thumbnail
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon thumbnail
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon thumbnail
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon  thumbnail
World Refugee Day 2014 Lebanon thumbnail

 

 

West Bank preschoolers in Beit Mirzim tossing balloons in their new classroom.

West Bank Villages Open New Preschools

May 19th, 2014 by lkassman

Four-year old Manal could not believe her eyes when she saw her new preschool. “I couldn’t sleep all night because I was thinking about when I could play with my friends in my new school.”

Manal lives in the West Bank village of Beit Mirsim where ANERA recently rebuilt the village preschool. The inauguration ceremony was a colorful celebration for Beit Mirsim and Anab Al Kabir villages which are both benefiting from new facilities.

ANERA is expanding its ECD program to establish kindergartens in eight West Bank public schools.

Like many remote villages in the Hebron area, unemployment is rampant and few can afford to pay tuition or transportation fees to send their children to preschool. But that reality has changed since 2010, when ANERA initiated its early childhood development (ECD) program, known as Right Start!, to bring quality preschool education to remote communities like Beit Mirsim and Anab Al Kabir.

Outside view of newly renovated kindergarten in Beit Mirzim public school

Outside view of Anab Al Kabir Preschool classes.

Thanks to funding from Dubai Cares and support from the Palestinian Ministry of Education, ANERA is establishing kindergarten classes within existing elementary schools across the West Bank.

“This is a groundbreaking development in the ministry’s campaign to make preschool education available to the most marginalized communities of the West Bank and Gaza,” said Deputy Education Minister Jehad Zakarneh. The minister, along with community officials, families and children participated in the festive inauguration of the Beit Mirsim and Anab Al Kabir preschools.

Children perform in inauguration ceremony at Beit Mirzim preschool opening in West Bank.

Children perform in inauguration ceremony at Beit Mirsim preschool.

Under its ECD program ANERA remodeled and outfitted the preschools with curtains, carpets, child-sized tables and chairs and painted in pastel child-friendly colors that brought smiles to the children’s faces when they discovered their new surroundings.

The school’s playground was redesigned with safety in mind. So were the bathrooms, which were properly sized for the youngsters. ANERA also provided high quality learning materials, from books and puzzles to art materials and a special reading corner space.

ANERA also trained the preschool teachers to provide skills and tools for stimulating the children’s creativity and love of learning. 

That love was evident when young Mohammad saw his new kindergarten class in Anab Al Kabir village: “I want to stay in this class. I don’t want to grow old or ever leave. I love it here.”

 

View slideshow of opening ceremony at Beit Mirsim Preschool

West Bank boys with hoops at opening of preschool Beit Mirzim
West Bank girl in traditional dress at opening of new preschool
Colorful playground at Beit Mirsim preschool, West Bank
Children perform in inauguration ceremony at Beit Mirzim preschool opening in West Bank.
Girl carrying flag in Beit Mirsim opening ceremony, West Bank
Girls with baskets at Beit Mirsim opening ceremony, West Bank
Girls with flags in opening ceremony for Beit Mirsim school, West Bank
Boys play drums for opening of Beit Mirsim preschool, West Bank
View of a room in new preschool in Beit Mirsim, West Bank
Girl scouts in formation for Beit Mirsim preschool opening, West Bank
Girl in traditional dress sings at Beit Mirsim school, West Bank
View of play area in Beit Mirsim's new preschool, West Bank
New child-high sinks in Beit Mirsim preschool, West Bank
Girl scouts at opening ceremony of Beit Mirsim preschool, West Bank
Three West Bank girls in traditional dress celebrate their new school

West Bank boys with hoops at opening of preschool Beit Mirzim

West Bank girl in traditional dress at opening of new preschool

Colorful playground at Beit Mirsim preschool, West Bank

West Bank preschoolers at Beit Mirzim's inauguration ceremony

Children perform in inauguration ceremony at Beit Mirzim preschool opening in West Bank.

Girl carrying flag in Beit Mirsim opening ceremony, West Bank

Girls with baskets at Beit Mirsim opening ceremony, West Bank

Girls with flags in opening ceremony for Beit Mirsim school, West Bank

Boys play drums for opening of Beit Mirsim preschool, West Bank

View of a room in new preschool in Beit Mirsim, West Bank

Girl scouts in formation for Beit Mirsim preschool opening, West Bank

Girl in traditional dress sings at Beit Mirsim school, West Bank

View of play area in Beit Mirsim's new preschool, West Bank

New child-high sinks in Beit Mirsim preschool, West Bank

Girl scouts at opening ceremony of Beit Mirsim preschool, West Bank

Three West Bank girls in traditional dress celebrate their new school

West Bank boys with hoops at opening of preschool Beit Mirzim thumbnail
West Bank girl in traditional dress at opening of new preschool thumbnail
Colorful playground at Beit Mirsim preschool, West Bank thumbnail
West Bank preschoolers at Beit Mirzim's inauguration ceremony thumbnail
Girl carrying flag in Beit Mirsim opening ceremony, West Bank thumbnail
Girls with baskets at Beit Mirsim opening ceremony, West Bank thumbnail
Girls with flags in opening ceremony for Beit Mirsim school, West Bank thumbnail
Boys play drums for opening of Beit Mirsim preschool, West Bank thumbnail
View of a room in new preschool in Beit Mirsim, West Bank thumbnail
Girl scouts in formation for Beit Mirsim preschool opening, West Bank thumbnail
Girl in traditional dress sings at Beit Mirsim school, West Bank thumbnail
View of play area in Beit Mirsim's new preschool, West Bank thumbnail
New child-high sinks in Beit Mirsim preschool, West Bank thumbnail
Girl scouts at opening ceremony of Beit Mirsim preschool, West Bank thumbnail
Three West Bank girls in traditional dress celebrate their new school  thumbnail