The people in Gaza are being collectively punished– there is no water, food, or electricity. The situation is unbearable for everyone; the bombings haven’t stopped for days, entire families are buried in the rubble, and hospitals are overflowing. 

At BuildPalestine we will be running a series of campaigns to raise awareness about the inspiring people of Gaza, and their beautiful contributions to the world. 

Today, we will start with Atfaluna (“Our Children”), a nonprofit founded in 1993 to support the deaf community in Gaza. Since then, it has expanded its work to support people with special needs. 

The situation in Gaza is unbearable for everyone, but just take a minute to imagine what it would be like to be deaf in Gaza today, or to have a loved one living with a disability, while also living through Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza. 

Since the bombings started, we have been in direct communication with the team at Atfaluna, which in addition to trying to keep themselves and their family safe, is providing support to the disabled community to meet the urgent needs. “People with disabilities in Gaza are unable to receive the care they need in shelters, and are denied basic protections,” said Fidaa Shurrab – Projects and Fundraising Manager at Atfaluna 

Atfaluna is unwavering in its commitment to the principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Even in the midst of armed conflicts, they strive to ensure that individuals with disabilities in Gaza are not denied basic protections. This international treaty emphasizes the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, especially during times of crisis. 

Atfaluna shared the story of a 6-year-old Yousef, from al-Shati Refugee Camp, whose parents are both deaf and are suffering from severe fear and anxiety. On October 12, 2022, Israel bombed Al-Shati camp, killing more than 250 people. Al-Shati is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and a place where many fled from other parts of Gaza for safety. 

Atfaluna is a social enterprise, which means that they have income-generating activities to support the mission of the organization. The organization trains people with disabilities to create beautiful crafts that are sold around the world. In addition, they have a program that helps individuals with disabilities to find jobs in the digital economy. 

In a blog post from 2021, Atfaluna writes, “Unable to understand what is going on around them in a crisis situation, children with hearing disabilities experience great feelings of helplessness, confusion, and untold fear.” 

The Atfaluna team is working around the clock to respond to the needs of their community in Gaza and has issued an Urgent Appeal to assist people on the ground with food, hygiene kits, blankets, and other basic items.

Let us all use our voices to speak out against the atrocities happening in Gaza and call on the international community to pressure Israel to use restraint, and allow for electricity, water, and food for the people of Gaza. 

To explore other organizations providing emergency support to Gaza, check our blog “Trusted Organizations to Donate to Palestine”