9 September 2010
This Ramadan, UNRWA, through its partnership network of community-based organisations (CBOs) and supported by a number of generous donations, has been able to provide hot meals and fresh meat to the most vulnerable Palestine refugees in Gaza and the West Bank. Out of the total $1.9 million donated during the holy month, approximately $1.4 million of in-kind donations (fresh meat and hot meals) were distributed through CBOs.
Hot meals to Gaza's poorest
In Gaza, UNRWA's Feed the Fasting in Ramadan project received generous donations from the Gaddafi Foundation, the Khalifa bin Zayed al Nehayan Foundation (KBZF) and the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society.
The contributions translated into the provision of over 80,000 hot meals to more than 240,000 of the poorest refugees over a 15-day period. Each meal, suitable for three people, included rice, a chicken, yogurt, water and dates.
The meals were distributed through 21 CBOs across Gaza, including nine women’s programme centres, six community-based rehabilitation centres and six youth activity centres.
Fawziya Abu Zu-eiter, a member of the Jabalia Women's Programme Centre Administrative Committee, said: “You see the joy and the happiness present here. This event, for many people, has brought happiness into their homes. I am sure that the poor families appreciate and benefit from this meal, especially during this month. It’s really beautiful.”
The donations, given during Ramadan, have helped to ease the suffering of the poorest refugees in Gaza, where poverty has dramatically increased under the shadow of the three-year blockade.
Fresh meat to mark Ramadan in the West Bank
In the West Bank, KBZF donated $400,000 for the provision of 38 tons of locally produced fresh meat. The fresh meat, considered a luxury by many refugee families, marked an extra cause of celebration for 15,200 poor and vulnerable refugee families (approximately 60,800 people) who received the rations.
Each Friday during Ramadan, 2.5 kg of fresh meat was delivered to 3,800 different families living in UNRWA camps. Priority was given to orphans, the elderly, and to those who have lost their homes due to Israeli military operations or violent attacks by Israeli settler groups.
An elderly female beneficiary in Shu'fat camp, just north of Jerusalem, expressed her appreciation to UNRWA staff, suggesting that the provision of fresh meat had allowed her to host an iftar [evening meal to break the Ramadan fast] for her family for the first time in more than ten years.
Working with the community
The meals and rations were prepared and distributed by UNRWA's partner network of CBOs. In total, there are 104 CBOs across all five fields of UNRWA's operations.
By engaging local volunteers and working directly with communities, UNRWA strengthens the capacity of refugees to conceive and carry out sustainable social services tailored to the needs of their own communities.