Gaza children support Japan
18 March 2012
One thousand children attending UNRWA schools in Gaza have flown kites in a symbolic show of support or “kizuna” the Japanese word for solidarity, with the children of Japan and victims of the earthquake and tsunami a year ago. The event took place at the Japan-funded UNRWA health centre and re-housing project in Khan Younis.
The Director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, Christer Nordahl said, “It is typical of the children of Gaza who experience so much hardship to think of children suffering elsewhere in the world. It is a wonderful and creative symbolic act of solidarity.”
The inspiration for the event was a man in Japan called Akihiko. After seeing the UNRWA children in Gaza break the Guinness World Record for kite flying last year, was moved to mount a similar in memory of the tragedy. Over the past week, he has mobilized children and adults in 23 locations in Japan, and 5 countries worldwide. Gaza is the latest to join.
In a message from Japan, Akihiko said, “it is really, really a wonderful festivity that you are flying 'kites of hope' . Amazing! I am sure that your kiting today will greatly encourage Japanese people living in the area stricken by disaster. Let's fly kites high up to the sky to let sorrows and fears turn to hope”.
UNRWA delivers relief and social services to over a million refugees in Gaza. The Agency receives generous funding from the government and people of Japan, and since the devastating earthquake and tsunami and today, Japan has contributed US$ 23 million to UNRWA.