Once again, Palestinians in Gaza have fallen victim to the political turmoil in neighboring Egypt. The border is mostly closed and 80% of the tunnels that were used to bring in food, fuel, clothing and shoes have been demolished or shut down. A humanitarian crisis looms.
One challenge for families getting children ready to go back to school has been the soaring cost of shoes and clothing. Anera is helping to ease this burden by providing shoes to children and their parents. In partnership with International Relief and Development (IRD), Anera has provided 8,000 pairs of Crocs to needy families across Gaza. They were distributed through seven community based organizations.
Gift of Shoes Eases Financial Burdens
Ameera Abu Sweereh, a mother of five living in El-Sawarha in central Gaza, says the new shoes have been a great financial relief. “The shoes have saved our family a lot of money--more than 600 NIS ($164) for this year because my kids have new shoes to wear to school every day. Even the girls in high school received a pair and they are delighted.”
Ameera was relieved to have received the shoes before school started. “It takes my children an hour and a half to walk to schools. It is very hot and those shoes are comfortable for them. “
Ameera’s neighbor Samia El Atawna was also delighted and relieved to get new shoes for her children and surprised to learn the shoes were for every member of the household, including her. “The school is far away and I think these shoes will last for the whole school year because of their high quality and thick soles,” explains the mother of four. “We don’t have proper transportation, so each year we have to replace our worn-out shoes or constantly pay for repairs.”
Samia and her family live in a two-room house with a dirt floor. Despite the family’s poverty, Samia says she always tries to find something to make her smile. Often she sits with her daughters on a colorful quilt and shares stories. Now, she says the new shoes are what make her smile the most. “Shoes that are available in the market are too expensive and very poor quality.”
Her son Sohaib shows off his new shoes from his perch on a swing nearby: “My new shoes are comfortable and don’t hurt my feet.”
This is Anera’s second distribution of Crocs shoes. In 2010, Anera distributed more than 7,000 pairs to needy preschool children through our Milk for Preschoolers Program.