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In photos: Providing school supplies for children in Gaza

Download this photo essay as a PDF. Photo: Firas Ramlawi / AFSC

Earlier this year, AFSC supporters like you donated to help purchase school supplies for children in Gaza. Thank you to everyone who has made a gift so far!

Children of families living in poverty and under an ongoing blockade cannot afford the basic supplies needed to enroll in their primary schools. Supporters like you are helping them prepare for the next school year—providing them with new uniforms, schools bags, and pens, paper, and other supplies.

That includes children like Mohammed, age eight, and his little sister Malak, age six. In this photo essay, their family shared moments of a recent school day in their community of Shejaiya, in east Gaza.

 

Mohammed, a third grader, and Malak, a first grader, go to the nearby elementary school together. They enjoy going to school to learn and play with their classmates.  

During the Israeli attacks last year, their neighborhood was one of the areas hardest hit. “We wish to learn and play in safety, joy, and happiness away from war,” Mohammed and Malak said.  

 

There is a shortage of schools in Gaza. As a result, most schools are severely overcrowded. Many, like Mohammed and Malak’s, must operate in a “double shift”—holding one school in the morning and another in the afternoon. The siblings attend school in the morning. Another brother, Ahmed, attends school in the afternoon. 

 

Malak waits for Mohammed after school. Their other brother, who attends school in the afternoon, does not have a school bag of his own. So every day, Malak lends him her bag to use. She said, “Luckily, he studies in the afternoon shift so he can use his sister's bag!” Mohammed added,” I wish the three of us can get new school bags. That will make us so happy.”

 

Omar (left) is Malak and Mohammed’s father. He and his wife have a total of five children. Omar, who is unemployed, said, “I used to work as tailor. I lost my job due to the Israeli blockade on Gaza. The 2021 Israeli attack on Gaza has severely worsened the humanitarian situation here.” 

 

Omar holds his youngest son as he waits for his children to return from school. He hopes that conditions in Gaza will improve from previous years. He said, “I wish to return back to my job and work hard in order to provide my children's school requirements.”

 

Omar and his youngest son are happy seeing Malak and Mohammed after they come back from school. Omar said, “I am worried about my children’s future. I do not have the ability to buy for them what they want for school.”

 

Both Malak and Mohammed are good students. Malak wants to become a physician. Mohammed likes mathematics and wants to become an engineer. Says Omar, “I’m tired. All I hope for is a decent future for my children.”

 

Mohammed and Malak do their homework at home. Both believe that every day is a new chance to learn something new. Malak said,” I will be happy if I get new school bag and stationery. I will draw my happiness using my new pens.” 

 

Thank you for joining us in helping families in Gaza meet their immediate needs—and for helping us advocate for the systemic changes needed to address the injustices and inequities that deprive people of their rights and resources we all deserve.  

If you have not yet made a donation and would like to give, you still have time! Every gift makes a difference and is deeply appreciated. Donate today.  

Download this photo essay as a PDF.

About the Author

Firas Ramalawi serves as Office Manager for AFSC's Gaza office. Before joining the AFSC staff, he worked for Save the Children.