6 months of Emergency Response, and we still have more to do in Gaza

It had been more than 6 months working as part of the Gaza Emergency Response in Gaza, which was declared by Save the Children in late December last year, just couple of weeks before the Israeli offensive on Gaza. Since that date everyone is working on helping the vulnerable people in different domains, including Education, Health, Water and Sanitation, Livelihood as well as Food and Non-Food Items distribution to the most vulnerable people in Gaza.

For me, I have been doing the communication and documentation work for these sectors, where I’m used to meet with affected children and their families, listen to their stories, which are painful in sometimes, and lessons to be learnt from in other times. This kind of work put me under some pressure, which was reflected on my performance with less number of case studies that I was supposed to do, because I became little bit tired of listening to the painful stories of children and their experiences, which could be described at the minimum as Grave Violation to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC).

This sphere that I was living in ended when the following happened: I was instructed to go and make some photo documentation of one of our projects to rehabilitate agricultural lands and roads, I was driving a Save the Children vehicle, which is clearly marked with Save the Children logo through three stickers and one large flag (this is usually how vehicles are used in areas of Emergency for security and visibility reasons), while driving I was stopping amid a traffic jam in front of Al-Shifa’ hospital, which is the main hospital for all of Gaza, where a young man in his 30s using a wheel chair came over and asked me to talk for a while.

I immediately stopped and stepped down to see what he wants, his name was Mostafa and he said: “The car you are driving says that you work for Save the Children, can’t you consider me as a child and save my future??!!!” Many people say that I’m good speaker, but after what Mostafa said, for the first time ever, I didn’t how to respond, I had nothing to say, the only thing I felt I should do is I hugged him and started talking to him about the specialized organizations for his case, and those he can find in Gaza as well as giving him all of my contact details so Mostafa can be in direct contact with me if he needs any further assistance, I wanted to spend as much time as I can just to tell him that even if we in Save the Children cannot do some direct intervention because of his age, we are still there to assist him and others to have better future.

The most important thing is what happened with me; after leaving Mostafa I felt that I’m cheered up again, and I should stop being pressured by listening to the painful experiences of the innocent children, because I saw my goal again, which is to work through Save the Children on securing a better future for the children, especially that if we were not there to listen to them, no one will be, and we might be able not to see many cases like Mostafa in the future.

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