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MIDDLE EAST CHILDRENS ALLIANCE

2015
ANNUAL
REPORT

Dear Friend of MECA,


I am in awe of what the Middle East Childrens Alliance staff and partner organizations on the ground in Palestine and Lebanon
have been able to accomplish over the past year, living and working in, frankly terrible conditions. The 10,000 homes Israel
destroyed in Gaza in the 2014 assault have not been rebuilt, despite promises from international aid agencies, and 100,000
people are still displaced. The Israeli blockade of Gaza continues, cutting off fuel for electricity, water, sanitation. and heat.
People with dire medical needs cant leave to get care; students cant attend universities abroad, families are separated, businesses and farmers cant get materials in or products out.
In many ways the greatest suffering the people in Gaza, especially children, experience is almost entirely invisible: the trauma,
the devastating losses, the isolation, and the terror that bombs could begin falling again at any time. With the support of several thousand caring people like you, MECA is working to help the children heal and respond to new calls for solidarity. Your
contributions to MECA provide clean safe drinking water, psychosocial support, medical aid, university scholarships and more
to thousands of children, youth, and families in Gaza.
In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a surge of Israeli state and settler violence that began in the fall of 2015 has claimed
more than nearly 200 Palestinian lives and left thousands more injured. Hundreds of young people, including small children,
have been arrested, interrogated, abused and detained by Israeli authorities. Family homes, even whole villages, have been
destroyed. Soldiers and armed settlers are a constant presence. But day in and day out, MECAs partners provide an escape
from life under occupation, even just for a short time, giving Palestinian children opportunities to play, learn, create, and tell
their stories to the world.
As the war in Syria enters its sixth year, millions of people are risking their lives for the chance to live in safety. They make long,
dangerous journeys, often without food or warm clothes, only to be turned away by one country after another. Theres been a
lot of focus on refugees coming to Europe or the U.S., but the vast majority have settled in neighboring countries. There are
now more than one million refugees from SyriaSyrians and Palestiniansin Lebanon, where MECA is providing food, hygiene
products, heating fuel, winter clothes, and a new school that addresses the childrens special academic needs.
Every year MECA faces an enormous set of challengesboth old and newbut your support enables us to overcome those challenges for the benefit of thousands of children in the Middle East. Please, read on to see how you are making a very significant
difference in the lives of thousands of Palestinian children and refugees from Syria.
With much appreciation,

Barbara Lubin
Co-Founder and Director

Letter from the Director


Barbara Lubin

The Madaa Silwan Creative Center:


Support and Opportunities in Besieged East Jerusalem

Projects for Children


Every child in Silwan, East Jerusalem is affected
by the constant presence of violent settlers, Israeli
police and soldiers, the destruction of homes and
community buildings, and the frequent nightly
raids and arrests of friends and family members.
In 2015, MECA provided funding for a librarian
who leads arts and literacy activities for children
of all ages, a summer camp, a computer lab, sports
field renovation, and a community mural.
Madaa Creative Center it is a lovely place for the kids
to breathe. It gives them a chance to have a life that is
not just settlers and the occupation to be far away
from these things for a little bit to give them space to
live their childhood.
A mother in Silwan
CREDIT: Silwanic.net

Above: MECA supported an Art Forces visit to Madaa where U.S. artists created a mural in
collaboration with local artists and the Silwan community. Settlers hate the mural that proudly
depicts Palestinian culture and history. They have tried several times to get the municipal government to paint over it. So far, the community has succeeded in protecting it.
CREDIT: Art Forces

Projects for Children

Shoruq Organization:

Palestinian Refugee Youth Learning


The state-of-the-art video and audio studio at Sho- about the Past, Preparing for the Future
ruq Organization in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, Palestine serves as an exciting classroom where young
people learn technical skills that enable them to
tell their stories through song, rap, and documentaries. Shoruq also has a youth debka (traditional
Palestinian dance) troupe, legal aid and advocacy,
and a visual arts program.

Top: Shoruqs young people are learning sophisticated


video and interview techniques to create an oral history
of the remaining Nakba survivorsolder people who
were expelled from their homes and land when the state
of Israel was created.
CREDIT: Shoruq

Left: Shoruqs traditional Palestinian debka dance


troupe performs dances that tell the stories of life in
Dheisheh Refugee Camp and the villages the dancers
families were forced to leave. The music and choreography are created by young people at Shoruq, where
children also learn and then teach the dances.
CREDIT: Shoruq

Below: A student in Shoruqs drawing class captures a


small typical scene in Dheisheh Refugee Camp.
CREDIT: Shoruq

I developed my personality through taking part in Shoruqs activities. I became more open to the society and got introduced to new ways of life. Shoruq
opened the door for me to take part in several activities such as debka and hip
hop. Shoruq is my second home and my family trusts them because they fulfill
our needs.
Sireen Khmayis, age 15.

We carried our bodies tired and hungry through the darkness of the
night to the city of Damascus, and from there to the Lebanese border.
Today we are in one room, kitchen and bathroom, all of us, my mother
and father and me and four brothers and sisters. We cant go to school
because of my fathers inability to pay for school bus transportation.
Yamen, age 11

Projects for Children

Let the Children Play & Heal:


Psychosocial Support for Children in Gaza

In 2015, MECA helped our partner Al-Jalil Center start a school for 285 refugee children who are not attending because they are turned away from overcrowded local schools; the curriculum is so different they cant catch up; or their
families cant afford even small school expenses.

MECAs long-time psychosocial support program led by two partner


organizations in Gaza, Afaq Jadeeda (New Horizons) and Never
Stop Dreaming, continue to develop ways to address the psychological needs of large numbers of children through play and creativity. In
2015, Play & Heal visited sixteen community centers and schools,
organizing sports teams, leading games and art, music, and drama activities. A psychologist identifies children who need special care. The
Palestine Writing Workshop, based in the West Bank, provided special
training for creative writing teachers via Skype.

Education for All provides morning classes in reading,


writing, English, math and computer use, as well as field
trips, psychological support, special workshops, and holiday
celebrations

MECA Gaza Projects Director Dr. Mona El-Farra joins the children learning to dance. Creative and physical activities are a key part of Play & Heal
because they teach children to support one another and gently help them
overcome fears.

Education for All


Refugees from Syria

CREDIT: Al-Jalil Center

CREDIT: Ahmed Sohail

Projects for Children

Summer Camp in Memory of


Beloved Childrens Advocate

Masara Village Kitchen Project Palestine Writing Workshop:


Above: MECA continues to support the mothers and
grandmothers of Masara Village in the West Bank, who
rise every day before dawn to prepare healthy food for
the children in the village.
CREDIT: MECA

Encouraging Future Readers


and Writers

Above: Storytelling, reading, writing and illustrating


books, getting books to keep. and even publishing their
own, puppet shows, book clubs and school libraries:
The acclaimed Palestine Writing Workshop employs all
these approaches in schools around the city of Nablus
to improve childrens literacy and teach them a love
of reading.
CREDIT: Palestine Writing Workshop

Palestinian children need strong bodies because we are first and foremost
living under occupation. When the occupation is combined with poverty, this
is an impossible situation for the children.
Um Hasan, Masara Kitchen Founder

Above: In the summer of 2015 MECA supported a


summer camp in the West Bank village of Beit Omar
in memory of Hashem Khader Abu Maria, shown here
with his daughter. Hashem was killed one year before
at age 45 when Israeli forces shot him as he stood at a
demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza
who were being killed daily in the Israeli assault. He
was beloved by his community, his family and his colleagues at Defense for Children International-Palestine,
a childrens advocacy organization that MECA often
works with.
CREDIT: DCI-Palestine

Projects for Children


The Freedom Theatre:

Generating Cultural Resistance


Left: Math Exam, the Freedom Theatres first play
for children that is entirely created in-house, is based
on accounts by children in Jenin Refugee Camp. This
Palestinian theatre and cultural center in Jenin Refugee
Camp stages professional theatre productions, holds
amateur drama workshops and runs a three-year educational program in acting. MECA is very grateful to the
Friends of the Freedom Theatre who do a remarkable
job of fundraising for this project.

Samira Project: Academic and

CREDIT: The Freedom Theatre

Psychological Support for Gaza Kids


Above:The Samira Project addresses the educational
and psychological needs of children with learning disabilities and psychological trauma. The psychologist at
Samira talks to a child whos father was killed in the
2014 Israeli assault. The teachers and I came up with a
plan to help him. A remarkable improvement appeared
on Aheds behavior and educational achievement. He
has a love and passion for learning.
CREDIT: Ahmed Sohail

Arab Minority Rights in Israel


Opposite page: #Save_UmAlHiran: MECA supported
an international advocacy campaign led by Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel to save
a Bedouin village in Southern Israel. Sadly, the Israeli
Supreme Court issued its final decision in May 2015,
allowing Israel to carry out its plan to demolish the village and forcibly displace its residents, for the sole purpose of establishing a new Jewish town called Hiran
over its ruins.
CREDIT: Adalah

Children Learn to
Care for their Land
and their History
Left: The Mashjar Juthour park and
environmental education organization launched a new project in 2015,
with MECAs help, for children from
refugee camps around Ramallah (West
Bank.). Groups of children attend
camps and workshops where they learn
about their land, their rights and their
history through activities such as hikes,
interactive games, park clean-up, gathering family stories, and understanding
the traditional uses of native plants.
CREDIT: Mashjar Juthour

Humanitarian Aid

MECA sent $1,229,182 in aid


Medical supplies, food vouchers, winter

coats, and more
Elevator and medical equipment

for Al-Awda Hospital, Gaza
100 emergency water tanks

Refugees from Syria


Left: Winter gets very cold in Lebanon, especially
for refugees from Syria living in public buildings and
makeshift shelters. Throughout 2015, MECA enabled
our partner the Al-Jalil Center in Lebanon to provide
vouchers for food and hygiene products to be used at
local stores. During the winter months MECA provided heating fuel for 1,500 families and warm clothes for
600 children.
CREDIT: Al-Jalil Center

Emergency Water
Below: The Israeli assault of 2014 damaged or destroyed
Gazaa water systems. In 2015, MECA provided water
tanks to 100 families, and delivered water, along with
hygiene kits and community education about the dangers of contaminated water and how to avoid waterborne illnesses.
CREDIT: MECA

Families in Gaza
Right: More than a year after the horrific Israeli assault
on Gaza in the summer of 2014, the infrastructure
is in shambles and thousands of families are living in
damaged homes or flimsy trailers, with little protection
from wind, rain and cold. Volunteers covered hundreds
of homes with plastic sheets that MECA provided.
CREDIT: MECA

The Maia Project:


Bring Clean Water to
the Children in Palestine
Maia Project to date:

71 water purification and desalination units

39 at UN schools for refugees, 32 community
preschools/ kindergartens

Providing clean, safe drinking water for 73,045

children in Gaza

1 unit at the Red Crescent Society for the

Gaza Strip for staff and patients
2 6 0 c h i l dre n a t
Sanabel Kindergarten
in a refugee camp
in central Gaza have
clean, safe water to
drink every day.
CREDIT: Ahmed Sohail

Maia Units Installed in 2015


School Name

MECA is a member of the Emergency, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (EWASH) group.
www.EWASH.org

# Students Dedication

Sindibad Kindergarten
450

A gift of Henry Bortman and Dwayne Schanz


San Francisco, California, USA

Atfal Khan Younis


A Gift from the Peace and Justice Action League


of Spokane, Washington

161

Al-Shuka Preparatory Girls School


1187

In Memory of Rachel Corrie and in Honor of


the Corrie Family

Mughraka Primary Co-Ed School


A gift from Watts Street Baptist Church and


friends to the children of Gaza

1400

Womens Union Kindergarten


150

A gift from Watts Street Baptist Church and


friends to the children of Gaza

Sanabel Kindergarten

With love from 14 Friends of Palestine in California.

260

Ajial Kindergarten

80

With love from ConnectHer Austin to the beautiful


children of Gaza

Khuzaa Co-ed Elementary School


1200

From New Mexicans to the Palestinians of


Khuzaa: Tadamon

Palestinian University
Scholarships

I grew up in a poor family of nine people, without any source of income. I couldnt follow my
dream to become a doctor because of the expensive cost of studying medicine in Gaza. With the
MECA scholarship, I know that now I can accomplish the dream I always had.
I was very excellent at school and I always had
the dream of being a successful doctor. I really
appreciate MECAs role in helping the Palestinian women to step forward in their promising
lives.

Rana Abu Jalala is studying medicine


at Al-Azhar University in Gaza.

2015-16 Academic Year:


166 scholarships
10 Palestinian universities
Most scholarships from the Elly Jaensch Memorial Scholarship Fund
Additional Scholarships provided by: SacramentoToBethlehem, ConnectHer,
Daniele & Christoph Berglar Foundation, and MECA supporters who make contributions
to the Ramzy Halaby Education Fund and the Helen Thomas Memorial Scholarship

My dream was
to study surveying
engineering since
my childhood. My
father is one of the first students in Palestine
who studied it. I used to work with him, which
made me like it very much. This study is very
limited in Palestine and we, as Palestinians, are
in great need.
My long term educational goal is to improve
myself and continue my higher education
(Master & PhD) to help develop such a field
throughout Palestinian universities and to let
other students, especially women, study it.

Ali Zaza is from Jenin and studying


at Palestine Polytechnic University.

I love nursing and I need to be more helpful.


I need this specialty to help people. And if I
have one single wish Ill do all my best and everything in my power to be a reason for a child
to laugh or an old man to smile or to help a
woman to dance. I will not give up my love of
helping people.

Maya Odeh, from Silwan,


East Jerusalem, is studying nursing
at Makassed Hospital.

Sanad, Womens Cleaning Supplies Business


Sixty women learned these new skills and started working in their homes and
producing cleaning supplies for their own use and also to sell to the local market.
This helps the women and their families to have some income to support their
children during this very difficult life under siege.
Layla Al-Zubaydy, Project Director

Gaza Sewing Project


Below: Women in Gaza need work and families in Gaza
need school uniforms and other clothes at reasonable
prices. MECAs long-time Gaza partner organization
Afaq Jadeeda initiated a sewing project, where women
receive training to make and sell their products. With
MECA Director Barbara Lubin.

Craftspeople and
Collectives
Right: MECA purchases items for
the annual bazaar and online store
ShopPalestinese.org from womens
collectives, social service organizations, and others who are supporting their families and communities,
while keeping their craft traditions
alive.
The women of Samoa Village in the
southern West Bank make beautiful
hand-woven rugs from wool they
gather, spin, dye, and weave, as their
families have done for generations.

Womens Income
Generating Projects

Public Education

2015 MECA Events

January. Osha Neumann Book Party:


Doodling on the Titanic: The Making of Art in
a World on the Brink
February. Film and Panel Discussion: Reel
Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People
July. Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, The Future of
Palestine, interviewed by Stanford professors
Khalil Barhoum & David Palumbo-Liu
October. Vijay Prashad under keffiyeh
umbrella with Ziad Abbas, MECA staff

October & November. ROOM


NO.4 and Sahar Abbasi: Israeli
Arrests of Palestinian Children in
Silwan, East Jerusalem eight-city
U.S. speaking tour

Teaching Palestine
In 2015, as in every other year, MECA organized public events with leading scholars, activists and artists,
gave presentations to dozens of high school and college classes, and spoke to the local and national media.
Our Teach Palestine project with Rethinking Schools
and middle school teacher Samia Shoman continued to
lead conference and independent workshops and provide resources and support for teachers who are working to bring Palestinian history into their classrooms.

New Mexico Students Attend Field


School in Palestine
Below: MECA led a special delegation called Field
School for students at the University of New Mexico
who spent ten days witnessing the impact of the Israeli
Occupation first hand while Palestinian rappers, artists, bus drivers, farmers, activists, and refugees became
our professors as one student remarked.
Ayman lives in one of the tent camps in the Jordan
Valley. His community doesnt have access to running
water, and Palestinians there have been barred from
digging wells since 1967. Every 3 days they have to
spend 150 shekels to refill this tank. The water in the
summer gets so hot it boils, and the saltiness of it is
detrimental to their crops and animals.
Tess Wolterstorff, Field School Student

November. MECA, Arab


Resource & Organizing Center
(AROC), Art Forces, and the
Palestinian American Coalition,
hosted Wishahs San Francisco
performance
December. Kate Raphael with,
Murder Under the Bridge: A
Palestine Mystery
CREDIT:
Tess Wolterstorff

Many, Many Thanks

Left: Joining Hands, group of women in the Bay Area, have been
finding joyful, creative ways to support MECA for many years.
They started the Annual Palestinian Crafts Bazaar and in 2015
began offering a series of cooking classes to support the women
in Masara village, who are cooking for school children every day.

Remember the Future!

Friends Raising Funds

14 Friends of Palestine,

multiple events and campaigns, California
Mr. Mediha Ahmetovic,

online fundraising campaign for scholarships
Cor Cochion Caerdydd (Cardiff Reds Choir), Wales
Charity Concert, Students from Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Challah for Gaza, WILPF Tucson and

the Tucson Raging Grannies, Arizona
Constanza Jewelry, online crowd-funding campaign
Corvallis-Albany Palestine Solidarity Dinner

and Poetry Reading with WILPF, Oregon
Friends of Khuzaa, New Mexico,

multiple events and campaigns
Norman Finkelstein/Byline online crowd-funding campaign
GAZA: Spoken Songs for the Silent

Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto, Canada
Joining Hands Cooking Classes, Oakland
Let the Children Play & Heal benefit, University of Toronto
Maia Project Fundraiser, San Mateo, California
Micah Bazant Design, sale of artists prints
Musical Response to Gaza, Brooklyn
Out of the Rubble Benefit for Gaza Children,

University of Chicago
Palestine/Israel Working Group of Nevada County, California
Palestinian Heritage Group Embroidery Sale, Seattle
Redspokes Big Ride for Palestine, UK
Syracuse Peace Council Gaza Benefit Dinner, New York
Temescal Trio Chamber Music Concert, San Francisco
Tree of Life Concert with David Morgan, Portland, Oregon
We Hear You, Norman Finkelstein and Byline,

online crowd-funding campaign

with a Planned Gift to the Middle East


Childrens Alliance
More information at
www.mecaforpeace.org/bequests
For further assistance, please contact Deborah Agre
at deborah@mecaforpeace.org/510 548-0542.
MECA also welcomes: Employee giving, employer
matching gifts, car donations, gifts of stock, and gifts
of time (volunteers).
Donate by phone, mail or online
at www.mecaforpeace.org/donate.

Above: MECA Director of Gaza Projects Dr. Mona ElFarra (center) was in the UK for the 450-mile, nineday Big Ride for Palestine. More than 200 participants
raised $80,000 for MECAs work in Gaza and brought
Palestine news and solidarity to towns from Edinburgh
to London.

Individual donors
In-Kind Medical Supplies
Benefits & Fundraisers
Bequests
Sales of Palestinian Crafts
Foundation Grants
Childrens Circle (monthly doors)
Events and Delegations

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US POSTAGE
PAID
BERKELEY, CA
PERMIT #265

1101 8th street Berkeley, CA 94710


phone 510-548-0542 fax 510-548-0543
meca@mecaforpeace.org www.mecaforpeace.org

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil from the West Bank, Stunning Scarves & Shawls,
Palestinian Embroidery, Olive Oil Soap and Palestinian Dead Sea
Products, Hand-woven Rugs, Painted Ceramics from Jerusalem and
Hebron, Olive Wood Products from Bethlehem, Cookbooks and
Kitchenware, Hand-crafted Jewelry, Books, Calendars, Childrens Toys
and Clothing from Gaza, Fine Art Prints

A Project of Middle East Childrens Alliance

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