23 January 2013
A group of young Palestinians in the West Bank have raised thousands of dollars through a benefit concert for the children’s ward at Al-Shifa, the Gaza Strip’s main hospital. The young West Bankers, all music students, organised the fundraiser after being shocked by images of the devastation in Gaza caused by the recent conflict.
The most recent conflict in Gaza, over eight days in November 2013, saw houses and local infrastructure destroyed and families made homeless. Local hospitals like Al Shifa struggled with the volume of injured patients, and relied heavily on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for donations of medicines and generators. During a visit to Al-Shifa hospital in the midst of the conflict, UNRWA’s Gaza director Robert Turner condemned the violence and paid tribute to the hard work of local doctors and other key workers.
Music for Gaza
In coordination with UNRWA, the group organised a ticketed evening of poetry, singing and live music at Ramallah’s Cultural Palace. All proceeds went to support the Gazan children that were treated at the hospital, Gaza during the eight-day conflict.
The group’s diligent work not only offered a way to support Gaza during a time of crisis; it was also an opportunity to bring young West Bank Palestinians together. The organisers sold tickets to youth at a reduced price, allowing an opportunity for many less well-off young people to attend.
“It is truly inspiring to be in the midst of such creative and thoughtful young people,” said UNRWA spokesperson Sami Mshasha.
“This group is not directly affected by events in Gaza, but still took the opportunity to use their talent to raise funds for those who need it.”
A strong message
With the event, the young artists aimed to send a strong message to two groups. Their first message was to the Gaza youth; that they are not alone, and that hey must maintain hope that a peaceful resolution to the conflict would be achieved.
The second was to the international community; that there are multiple ways to help a disadvantaged community like the children of Gaza, and that young people have a valuable contribution to make.
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