Struggling in the poverty of Gaza City, 11 year old Shaymaa lives with her single mother and siblings, along with an elder brother suffering from a debilitating kidney disease. She is just one of the many girls Interpal has been able to give another chance.
Today marks the first UN International Day of the Girl Child, which recognises “the challenges and power of girls” globally. The day was formally accepted last year in the UN General Assembly as an annual celebration of the Girl Child, which could be used as an important platform to recognise gender inequalities and further women’s empowerment.
Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential, regardless of gender. However, girls face far more obstacles in the world from gender inequality, social stigma, violence, cultural pressure or simply being born into poverty and conflict.
Before Interpal’s Sponsorship Programme began helping Shaymaa, the family home had no ceiling to block out the rain, there were no doors or furniture and was shared by an infestation of rodents.
Her mother told Interpal’s Gaza Field Team, “We used to have no food to eat and had to beg for help. Now that Shaymaa has a sponsor, it gives us our dignity back and I know she is being looked after.”
The family can now afford to eat, go to school, rebuild their home and most importantly, rebuild their lives.
Shaymaa’s case is a good example of how we help disadvantaged Palestinian girls gain better chances in life. Sponsoring a child not only helps them, but helps the whole family out of poverty and back into dignity and hope.
Here at Interpal, we recognise and value the potential girls have, no matter the conditions surrounding them. We work for Palestinians in some of the poorest and most densely populated areas in the world, in poor districts and refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan and Lebanon. We ensure that even the most disadvantaged of Palestinian orphans and children are given a chance to laugh, flourish, learn and have the chances in life they deserve.
In the words of Shaymaa’s mother, “I know you give us money, but you give us life, not just a helping hand. Thank you.”