#SunnahSmiles is a campaign promoting our General Children’s Fund. In simple terms, this is a pot where donations are combined and distributed to wherever the need is most acute. This might cover the cost of an urgent operation for a sick child, fund specialised tutoring for children with disabilities, or help to procure wheelchairs and other equipment for children in need. It is a
way to support children and ensure that the generosity of our donors goes directly to those most in need of aid, rather than being funnelled into the latest popular cause.
Interpal’s General Children’s Fund is a way of giving that protects the validity and legitimacy of donor aid. Palestinian refugee children have been born into this life and have no way of escaping it on their own. By giving, you help us to provide emergency relief and help those who do not have the power to help themselves.
Why support us?
International aid is often viewed as a somewhat problematic concept. Some argue that it prevents countries from developing or that it prolongs conflict. And indeed it is true that in situations where a careful strategy is lacking, or where proper research into a country’s needs has not been done, the resulting aid packages can produce counterproductive results. The fostering of a culture of dependence, as opposed to the sustainable foundation for positive change which most NGOs aim to build, is a shortfall that the sector has tried to address.
Interpal was founded by Palestinians in 1994 following the Oslo Accords, giving us a high level of experience and insight that is reflected in our work across the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in the refugee camps of Lebanon and Jordan.
There are currently an estimated 5,149,742 Palestinian refugees in the Near East region, with nearly 500,000 in Lebanon, a figure that represents around 10% of the population there. The numbers for Gaza are even more shocking with the total population at two million, and refugees making up 44% of this total.
When we break these figures down even further, a bleak picture begins to emerge:
- 70% of Gaza’s children are refugees.
- 80% of the refugee population in the West Bank live under the poverty line
On top of this, UNWRA does not have the capacity to provide the care these children need, with estimates showing that around 100,000 children, that’s 20% of the children in UNRWA’s schools, have special needs yet do not receive the necessary help. These are the new generation of Palestinians, yet still know nothing beyond life in desperate conditions.
Palestinian refugees are not protected by the 1951 Refugee Convention and therefore are not guaranteed the fundamental freedoms granted to many refugees, such as the right to education, the right to settlement and repatriation, the right to free access to courts. Because of this, Palestinian refugee children and adults cannot live without international aid: they just do not have the means. Whether this be the authority to change their situation in the long term or tangible resources to make life bearable in the short term, these are things which only become accessible with your help.
There are countless projects in motion in the refugee camps across the region, many of which are funded or implemented by Interpal. We are an NGO with a strict humanitarian focus, who give aid to both Palestinian and Syrian refugees who need our help.
What kind of projects do we support?
A project we have funded for the past few years is the ‘The Friends of Lazarus’ home for homeless girls in the Bethany area of the West Bank. This is an orphanage with the space and resources to focus on health care and education to support the health and well-being of the girls as they grow. They aim to work with the local social services in a way that will strengthen the whole community, addressing the root cause of the problem they exist to help in a sustainable way.
The projects we fund and those we run are implemented by our field offices, by locals who are often refugees themselves. This affords our work in the community a level of respect from our beneficiaries, who feel that they can trust those who can communicate in an honest and open way, stemming from their own experience and understanding of displacement.
As winter looms, Palestinian refugee camps face environmental catastrophe, meagre nutrition and a lack of adequate shelter to see them through. Our urgent Winter Aid Appeal strives to protect those in need from the harshness of the elements by providing emergency relief in case of catastrophe and preparing families for the months ahead. By supporting the General Children’s Fund, your generosity can help to bring desperate children out of the cold this winter.
Let’s come together #ForPalestine and follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by bringing smiles to the children of Palestine.