Gaza union speaks up for UN employees, sends message to the world

Gaza union speaks up for UN employees, sends message to the world

“This is the biggest challenge we have faced since the creation of UNRWA [in 1949],” says Amir el-Mishal, LSU chair. “First, the agency lost about US$446 million, causing it to stop hiring, terminate many contracts and change others from full to partial. That not only negatively impacted agency employees in Gaza, it also led to a decline in the quantity and quality of services we offer refugees."

Launching a message of Light to you from Palestinians who live in Gaza

Launching a message of Light to you from Palestinians who live in Gaza

You can change life in Gaza — that's what Artist Maysa Yousef and her husband came up with when we asked Gaza artists to design a logo for the #GazaLightMessage campaign.  

I am honored to announce that the Local Staff Union - Gaza is co-sponsoring this campaign each Wednesday night and, via Facebook and email, is inviting its 13,000 members to participate from their homes, then post photos and messages using hashtags, غزة_رسالة_ضوء#   #GazaLightMessage. The members of the LSU are employees of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and with their commitment, professionalism, and expertise, they are a key to Gaza's future.

Gaza's social media activists have joined too, another key to Gaza's future. (see the article below).
Over the next seven weeks, I invite you to click "Going" to our Facebook event, and respond to the weekly hashtag messages posted by the people of Gaza (to do this, go to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and paste #GazaLightMessage or or غزة_رسالة_ضوء# to see them and post a comment). After January 3rd when the new Congress is sworn-in, we'll send you an Action alert to help you press Congress to restore the U.S. aid cancelled by President Trump, recognize Palestinian planning rights, keep the U.S. Consulate open in Jerusalem, and lift the blockade on Gaza.

Give a Little Light to Gaza's Children, with LOVE

A breakthrough!  We found a way to ship donations directly to Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations in Gaza — something no one knew about.

Rolling blackouts last 8-10 hours every day in Gaza.  I ask your help to send a first pallet of solar-powered Luci lights to the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, to be distributed to children in need and their families.  

Our goal is to raise 14K by Valentine’s Day, a day that memorializes a brave man who performed secret weddings after a Roman Emperor outlawed marriage to build his army — and extend Valentine's spirit of love and compassion to the children of Gaza.

“It’s not about a light recharged by solar energy.  It’s about hope, a small gift that brings a smile and reminds us there is a life to live and wishes for better future.  10 years of electricity shortages have dumbed our souls to only retreat and give up.   Your help, your light inspires us to know that Goodness still is alive in this world, still alive in your heart beat, giving us warmth to continue and believe in the chance for peace and a better life.” 
                    —  Ameer in Gaza City, with niece and nephews testing a Luci Light

Click here to Give Now

Last Friday, Feb. 5th, Rebuilding Alliance placed the down payment for the purchase of our first pallet of solar-powered Luci Lights for the children of Gaza.   With your help, we'll pay the remainder for this pallet, and put a down payment on the next. With your help, we'll ship by the end of this month, in time for students to use the Luci Lights to study for their finals.

You ask, 'Will they let it in?'  In preparation, Rebuilding Alliance is drawing on everything we've learned about shipping to Gaza to get this pallet, and the next two pallets, through: 
-  In December, we sent Luci Light samples to the Israeli Customs office - they saw no problem; 
-  Last week, the Palestinian Customs office gave their approval for the donation and forwarded forms to secure pre-clearance in Israel; 
-  To assure timely Customs approval, we’re asking our Senators, Representatives and the U.S. State Department to help today.  With their assistance, we've cleared our past shipments, every time.

When Gaza Community Mental Health Programme receives these lights, their staff will distribute them to children in therapy and to their siblings.

We have plenty of children who are engaged in our play therapy and counseling programs. We can just give them the solar lights at the end of their debriefings.  These usually take place just before the start of final exams.  This is my thought for now, and I know the teams here will come up with more ideas for sure.”  — Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, Executive Director of GCMHP

Today, if you can, please send a Valentine's Day gift to Gaza's children in the name of someone you love. Please click here to Give a Little Light, with Love to Gaza’s Children.   


Donna Baranski-Walker
Founder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance

P.S.  If you would prefer to send a check, please make it out to 'Rebuilding Alliance' and write 'with Love to Gaza's Children' in the memo line and mail it to:

          Rebuilding Alliance
          1818 Gilbreth Road, Suite 243
          Burlingame CA 94010 USA

P.P.S.  Questions?  Wanting to set-up your own giving page?   Please call us at 650 651-71565.  My team and I are happy to help.

E.D. Heading to Gaza next week to distribute 3888 Backpack Kits to children in need

A message from Donna Baranski-Walker, Executive Director of Rebuilding Alliance:

Happy Thanksgiving!   Rebuilding Alliance successfully sent 3,888 backpack kits, school supplies, and children’s books to Gaza and the shipment recently arrived. ­­­­­­­

Rebuilding Alliance knows how to get things in.  We know how to negotiate the long bureaucratic and political process that allows selected shipments to enter Gaza through Israel’s blockade.  We are already beginning the pre-clearance process to send a container of solar-powered Luci Lights to childen so they can do their homework, read, and play safely when the electricity is out.

But first Rebuilding Alliance must successfully distribute our backpack kits to children in need. 

My permit to enter Gaza was just approved.  I fly to Amman Jordan next week to cross Israel and go through the Erez checkpoint into Gaza.   I will work with our Non Governmental Organization (NGO) partners to deliver the backpack kits to children at 16 schools in the most impacted areas of Gaza. Sounds clear enough.  God is in the details.

NGO assistance is key to assuring both Rebuilding Alliance’s compliance with the US Patriot Act and the success of the project.  DanChurchAid and the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme are hosting my visit.   The American International School in Gaza and the Al Basma Club for the Disabled also promised to help with distribution.

I learned something important in 2004, when I visited Gaza to begin the planning for the rebuilding of a home for the Rafah Gaza family whom the American Rachel Corrie sought to protect.  Rachel had been staying with the Nasrallah family, and their home was directly behind her that day when she was crushed by the Israeli Army’s Caterpillar D9 Bulldozer.  Craig and Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s parents became founding board members of Rebuilding Alliance.  We rebuilt a home for the Nasrallah family and still hope to help with rebuilding that neighborhood where 2200 homes were demolished in 2003.  

Khaled Nasrallah in Rafah, Gaza taught me the way to approach our work there, “Set a clear goal.  Even though you don’t know how to get there, you’ll know the next two steps, and as you take those steps, you’ll know the next, and the next — and in that way, you will reach your goal.”

I look forward to sharing these next steps with you, day by day, step by step.