Anera’s 2014 Annual Dinner – a Great Success

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Anera’s Annual Dinner this year was held at the Omni Shoreham hotel on October 17. Among the 410 guests, we welcomed staff from our offices in Lebanon and West Bank, including Samar Naser, our longest serving employee with more than 28 years of service in our Jerusalem office. And Rania Elhelo from our Gaza office got through Israeli restrictions and was able to join us.

It was an especially poignant evening, given the recent war and devastation in Gaza. President Bill Corcoran briefed everyone on the emergency relief efforts Anera has undertaken in Gaza. He also outlined how the funds raised at last year’s gathering helped enhance our long-term sustainable development programs.

“Investing in Women, Strengthening Communities” was the theme of this year’s event. To highlight the role of women in Palestinian society, the opening video of the evening featured several women directly connected to Anera as employees, as community partners and as beneficiaries.

Two actors presented narratives that highlighted successful women who have benefited from Anera’s support – a young nursing student in Lebanon and a preschool director in the West Bank whose dilapidated school is being replaced with a brand new facility. Master of Ceremonies Fiona Tarazi and her family were acknowledged for their generous funding of this school.

The third narrative was presented by Anera’s Gaza staffer Rania Elhelo who related some of the terrifying experiences that Gaza families endured during the summer bombings. Rania also detailed the courageous and energetic response of our Gaza team to the crisis even before the war ended.

Anera honored Reach Out To Asia for its partnership in vocational programs and youth sports activities in Lebanon; the Ajram Family Foundation for its generous support of our relief work in Gaza and our work in Lebanon with refugees from Syria; and Hope Cobb and a group of Anera donors who organized the funding that launched the Gaza Women’s Loan Fund 20 years ago. The fund still flourishes today.

The more than $400,000 raised at the event will be used to support Anera programs benefiting and empowering women and their families in Palestine and Lebanon.

The Ajram Family Foundation

Gaby, Genny and Stacey Ajram established the Foundation to alleviate poverty through improvements in health and education. Their profound generosity allowed Anera to expand relief aid for Gaza and refugees from Syria in Lebanon. They also have a commitment to long-term development, especially projects that create educational opportunities for Palestinian children.

Hope Cobb and Gaza Women’s Loan Fund donors

Twenty years ago, Hope Cobb led a group of Anera supporters in a campaign to capitalize the Gaza Women’s Loan Fund, a joint initiative with a community-based organization in Gaza. The Fund has provided loans totaling more than $7 million to nearly 6,000 women with a repayment rate of more than 95%.

Reach Out To Asia (ROTA)

ROTA, part of the Qatar Foundation, helps communities in the Middle East and Asia improve children’s access to high quality basic education and empower their youth to become leaders in society. ROTA has partnered with Anera since 2010 to provide impoverished Palestinian youth with technical and vocational skills needed to gain employment.

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