A LOCAL charity’s coordinator has described how she has had to leave her home and flee Gaza, where the crisis is deepening amid the raging war between Israel and Hamas.
Saddleworth Palestine Women’s Scholarship Fund (SPWSF) raises money to help women in Palestine, specifically those living in the Gaza Strip, access higher education.
The charity’s co-ordinator in the region, Dr Mona El-Farra, had to evacuate her high-rise flat near the coast.
She was able to send a message describing the terror of the Palestinian people in the face of Israel’s retaliatory attacks on their homeland.
“The sound of the Israeli bombardment is really frightening, despite the fact that it’s not new for us here in Gaza,” explained Dr El-Farra.
“The Israeli Army levelled a close nearby building to the ground, windows of my building have been broken and the glass has shattered everywhere, so I decided to leave my home.
“On the way out it was distressing to hear the cries of young women and children in the stairwell also fleeing the building. I was so touched to see one child carrying her cat, another one holding on tight to a cage with a bird inside.”
Getting to the family’s refuge flat was fraught with danger from the bombardment.
“Shelling and high sounds made me flinch and I could not help but scream loudly,” she said. “No place is safe.”
Hours later, she had to move on again.
“We had to leave our home twice to a safer place but no place is safe and we couldn’t sleep for three consecutive days,” Dr El-Farra added.
“We have left via the Rafah crossing which was hit while we were there.”
Working with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), Dr El-Farra is staying in the Egyptian capital Cairo to arrange to send medical supplies into Gaza.
Sue Piper, an SPWSF committee member, went to Gaza three months ago and learned that the area they had travelled in had been bombed, including the Islamic University where some of the students sponsored by the Scholarship Fund study.
A spokesperson for the SPWSF committee said: “In the midst of the most frightening news from Palestine, we fear for our students and their families.
“Now with the threat of an Israeli ground offensive, over a million people told to leave and the Israeli regime cutting electricity, water, food and essential supplies from Gaza, it leaves those that have survived the bombings so far even more isolated from the world and at risk of dying.
“We deplore the killing of Israelis just as we do the Palestinians. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinians as they face this most horrific crisis.”
As the committee await further news on the fate of the women the charity funds into higher education in Gaza, they plan to go ahead with their autumn fundraiser on November 18.
A Breakfast for Palestine will take place at Uppermill Methodist Church Hall from 10.30am to 1pm.
They will provide any update they can on the situation in Gaza and the Scholarship Fund’s students.
Entry is free. Refreshments and a buffet breakfast will be served and there will be stalls and a raffle.
There will also be an opportunity to donate towards the Palestinian relief effort via MECA.
For further information and to register your interest in attending, email firstname.lastname@example.org