By Yousef M. Aljamal – Gaza
On June 5th, The Palestine Children Relief Fund (PCRF) launched an annual fundraising campaign during the Holy month of Ramadan, focusing this year on Syrian refugees in Arab countries, including Syrian-Palestinian refugees in Gaza.
The online initiative, ‘PCRF Ramadan 2016 Campaign: Relief for Syrian Refugees’, aims to raise $100,000 from donations in one month.
In a press release PCRF stated that it “is confident its message will resonate with generous people around the world who want to help Syrian refugees in Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan.”
PCRF’s statement explained that the, “Syrian refugee population that has fled to Gaza is almost completely without support or aid”.
Fatimah Awad of the PCRF Washington State Chapter told the Palestine Chronicle the campaign would be of great benefit to Palestinian-Syrian refugees in Gaza, adding, “They don’t have the basic necessities available to them. We will be providing them with food, shelter, cloths, medicine, and education.”
Some 460 Palestinian families ended up in the Gaza Strip following the unrest in neighboring Arab countries, many of them from Syria.
“One of the families we identified, the Fayeds, fled Syria in 2013 and found refuge in Gaza. They lived in an apartment when they first came, then their father died of cancer. The mother is not able to work or provide for her family. The landlord kicked them out of the apartment and now they currently live in a nylon tent. The PCRF are raising funds to build them a home that will be safe and stable home. They will receive food, clothing, medicine, and an education too,” said Awad.
Those who arrived in Gaza received only promises to improve their conditions, but no concrete actions to improve their living conditions, according to Mohammed Alshiekh, a Palestinian-Syrian refugee living in Gaza and the PR officer at the Coordination Committee for Palestinian Refugees from Arab Countries in Gaza. He also heads Haqi (My Right) Society for Palestinian refugees from Arab countries.
Alshiekh told the Palestine Chronicle that the situation of Palestinian refugees who were living in Arab countries and ended up in Gaza is miserable, adding, “Since 2011, refugees are struggling and suffering, and the situation got worse in Ramadan. We are struggling to secure jobs”. He added, “In May 2016, the Palestinian Council of Ministers issued a decision to solve the problem of refugees in Gaza, but this decision was never implemented”.
“No work, no dignity. This is a disaster,” he concluded.
Dr. Mahmoud Al-Shawish, the Head of the Coordination Committee for Palestinian Refugees from Arab Countries in Gaza explained the situation of refugees who ended up in Gaza as “more than tragic,” noting that they “don’t receive proper education.” Al-Shawish called upon people all over the world “to lend a helping hand to these refugees who ended up in Gaza, after they fled Arab war-torn countries. Their situation is bad like never before, with no housing, and no jobs. We thank all those who contribute to the PCRF Ramadan campaign to draw a smile on the faces of these families.”
– Yousef M. Aljamal is the Palestine Chronicle Correspondent in the Gaza Strip.