backpacks for gaza - Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DO YOU GET THE SHIPPING CONTAINERS INTO GAZA?
- Our first shipping container arrived on January 5. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) partnered with Rebuilding Alliance as the Consignee for that one. They are a NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION. As soon as it reaches Gaza city, PRCS will work with the Al Basma Club for the Disabled to organize distribution in Gaza City and northern Gaza.
- Detail: The 40ft container left from the U.S. to Port of Ashdod, Israel where the PRCS received it, palletized it, and schedule transit to their warehouses in Gaza via the Karem Shalom transit terminal.
HOW WILL YOU GET THE SCHOOL SUPPLIES SHIPPING CONTAINERS INTO GAZA?
- The American International School in Gaza is our partner and Consignee for our new project, ‘Backpack Kits for Gaza.’ They will sign for the shipments at the port of Ashdod and contract for shipment into Gaza.
- Having a school involved was a requirement to qualify for the Microsoft YouthSpark Matching grant and we are proud that they join us as our partners.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE SHIPMENT GETS BLOCKED?
We’re asking everyone to call their congressperson to request their help. At your request as a constituent, they will contact the U.S. State Department and the Israeli Embassy to press for clear entry. Note: humanitarian aid is entirely within the truce agreements.
Rebuilding Alliance’s founder, Donna Baranski is one of the few people who has gotten cement into Gaza. If anyone can do this project, she can. She’s asking for grassroots and diplomatic assistance.
WILL THIS MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
- Our goal is to open the blockade with compassion.
- There’s no reason for the shipment to be held up… so we expect to open the blockade, the siege, in this simple way… in the process, we’ll personally engage thousands of Americans to personally help the children of Gaza and we’ll press our members of Congress to learn what is happening and open two way commerce as well, especially for building supplies.
ARE ANY AMERICAN COLLEGES OR UNIVERSITIES INTERESTED IN HELPING?
- Yes, so far we are working with students at the following colleges:
- San Jose State University’s Students for Justice in Palestine group
- Notre Dame de Namur’s Sister for Change Sorority
- Students at the University of California, Davis and also at Swarthmore College are planning participation.
IS IT COST EFFECTIVE TO SEND CLOTHES OR BACKPACKS FROM THE US INSTEAD OF BUYING IN GAZA?
- The value of the shipment is very high as compared to its total cost. The students at UCDavis are intent on doing the Backpacks with School Supplies project (their initiative and something Khaled asked for as well). At $20 per backpack, we're sending $117,000 of materials in each 40ft. container -- a good value.
- Yes, it would be great to buy in Gaza -- and that's certainly the goal of our ongoing Gaza Emergency Shelter Appeal. But with regard to clothes bought in Gaza, it is important to note where those clothes come from. Our containers are independent of the other local economy where everyone is buying.
- Lastly, this is not only about providing school supplies and clothing to children. This also offers leadership opportunities to Gaza high school students at the American International School and US college students who will collect the donations. In addition, we hope to sign-up hundreds of constituents who have a stake in opening that border with compassion. We're asking everyone to call their Senators and Representatives, and fully expect to get a lot of Congressional and State Dept help. USOMEN and Rebuilding Alliance may be the only ones sending clothes from overseas... let's change this, start with school supplies and clothes, build our success then do more.
WHO IS REBUILDING ALLIANCE?
Rebuilding Alliance is a U.S. non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding war-torn communities and making them safe. We’ve been helping Palestinian villages build homes, schools and women’s centers, playgrounds and even a birthing center in Area C of the West Bank, in East Jerusalem, and in Gaza too!
HAS REBUILDING ALLIANCE WORKED IN GAZA BEFORE?
- Our work in Gaza started in 2003, after Rachel Corrie was killed when she stood before a bulldozer to protect a Palestinian family’s home.
- Rachel Corrie’s parents are founding board members of Rebuilding Alliance.
- In 2006, Rebuilding Alliance brought the family Rachel stood to protect to speak in the US with Cindy and Craig Corrie. We raised funds to rebuild their home in what we thought would be the first of hundreds more because 2200 homes were demolished in their neighborhood.
- When the blockade hit, we helped level soccer fields and do portable building projects. We worked with the Al Basma Club for the Disabled for many years and also in partnership with the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.
- Rebuilding Alliance continues to work with that family – Khaled Nasrallah is advising on this project. He is now a social worker at an UNRWA school in Rafah and part of the UN’s logistics team for the Rafah area.
Please let us know as other questions arise! We’ll be glad to answer and add them to our FAQ list. You can send them to kelly[at]rebuildingalliance.org