Charities Operating in Palestine
Government aid initiatives can take years to create, revise and implement, but through supporting charities, everyone and anyone can help those who need it most. While waiting for new foreign aid dollars to materialize, local and international charities can provide direct impact to support goals to reduce hunger, disease and poverty. International charities have the wherewithal to improve overall living conditions in developing areas throughout the world. With ongoing humanitarian issues in the occupied Palestinian territories and recent violence in Gaza, United States citizens can support the seven large U.S.-based charities operating in Palestine. These seven organizations strive to help reduce poverty, provide emergency medical care, improve education and health care and secure access to clean water. Each of the seven established charities operating in Palestine has an incredible impact on those it serves and can further the goal of eliminating global poverty.

1. Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA)

Islamic Relief USA is an independent non-governmental organization (NGO) that has been operating in the United States since 1993. It provides support to those in need in Palestine and elsewhere.  IRUSA has many successful programs that provide food aid and address family sustainability as well as safe water and sanitation support. For example, IRUSA recently provided food assistance to 4,160 families in Gaza so they could purchase food for Ramadan. Its clean water and sanitation initiatives have prevented flooding and contamination in long-term programs. As a U.S.-recognized charity, IRUSA maintains active relationships with the federal government. It ensures all donations are in compliance with U.S. regulations. IRUSA has a clear role in decreasing poverty and addressing health concerns in Palestine.

2. Anera

Anera is a U.S.-registered NGO that targets charitable donations toward emergency relief and sustainable programs for Palestinian refugees and vulnerable communities. It receives funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department to continue bringing medical aid, safe water, education, long-term security and better hygiene to poor Palestinian communities. In 2021, Anera provided 120 awareness classes for waterborne illnesses and 117,175 hot meals for struggling families. That year, it also installed six water purification systems in Gaza and connected 1,152 homes with safe water.

3. Palestine Children’s Relief Fund

The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) is a U.S. humanitarian aid group based in Ohio. PCRF focuses on providing sick and injured Palestinians with care. PCRF volunteers from around the world staff its medical missions. Importantly, it has created two Palestinian cancer centers. It has also provided 2,000 sick and injured children free medical care. PCRF touts a four-star rating with Charity Navigator, the largest U.S. charity evaluator.

4. United Palestinian Appeal

United Palestinian Appeal (UPA) is a non-political, U.S.-based organization that aims to eliminate suffering and promote long-term socio-economic and cultural development in Palestine. UPA has reached a four-star rating with Charity Navigator. Its donations support programs in health and wellness. They also boost Palestine’s community and economic development, education quality and cultural outreach. During the last decade, UPA has installed solar energy systems in schools in Gaza, and built a craniofacial surgery center in the West Bank.  It has also constructed three harbors. Finally, UPA also provides emergency aid to help marginalized victims during crises.

5. Middle East Children’s Alliance

Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA for Peace) strives to “protect the rights and improve the lives of children in the Middle East.” It does this through direct aid including medical aid, food, hygiene kits and clothes to people in need in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon. In addition, MECA for Peace provides financial support to clinics, schools, counseling centers, parks and libraries. Recent diverse projects include building water purification systems in underdeveloped schools and providing university scholarships to allow students to continue their education and help their communities prosper.

6. Muslim Aid USA

Muslim Aid USA (MAUSA) provides assistance through emergency response, health care support and providing clean water and food aid. It also focuses on boosting economic development and improving education. Finally, MAUSA has orphan sponsorship and winterization programs. One current project is a plan to install 51 desalination units so 85,000 people in Gaza can gain clean water access. A second current initiative will train 200 health care staff in neonatal life support in order to reduce infant mortality. MAUSA has also provided food aid for 500 families in the Alnussirat Refugee Camp during Ramadan. Finally, it has helped needy families in Gaza winterize.

7. United Hands Relief and Development

United Hands Relief and Development (UHRD) is an international NGO with headquarters in Texas. Its goals include alleviating poverty, eliminating hunger, protecting human rights and supporting orphans. UHRD is currently appealing for the support of those in need in the Palestinian territories. Its emergency medical kits include milk and diapers for infants as well as hygiene and medical supplies and food. It has earned high marks from charity evaluators including Guidestar and Charity Navigator.

 A Look Ahead

These non-political, recognized, transparent and award-winning charities operating in Palestine are fighting to decrease hunger, disease and water contamination. As a result, the quality of life is improving for the Palestinian territories’ most vulnerable, marginalized and poor. In fact, these organizations and ones like them allow ordinary citizens in the United States and around the world to effectively fight global poverty.

– Karen Krosky
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Gaza

According to the World Bank, poverty in Gaza has risen to nearly 40 percent, twice as high as that in the West Bank. More than 65 percent of Gazans have inadequate access to water and sanitary services and unemployment rates are over 40 percent.

Despite the extreme hardships endured by the Gazan people, there are numerous nonprofit organizations across the globe helping to improve conditions in the Gaza Strip.

1. United Palestinian Appeal (UPA) – Washington D.C.

UPA’s mission statement is to alleviate the sufferings of Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank and refugee camps across the Middle East by providing direct aid through program and grants.

The Healing Through Feeling Program provides Gazan children, 50 percent of whom suffer from PTSD, with trauma counseling and community support.

Other programs include scholarship funding, medical care provisions, food security and small business education.

2. Al Mezan Center For Human Rights – Gaza City, Gaza Strip

Al Mezan’s mission is to promote the protection of human rights in Gaza through research, legal intervention and advocacy. Projects include gathering information on human rights violations, meeting with governmental bodies to discuss violations and spreading awareness.

Al Mezan also offers a variety of training courses, workshops and lectures to train lawyers and analysts on the necessary information for their professional programs.

3. Just Vision – Jerusalem, New York, Washington D.C.

Just Vision’s goal is to foster peace and build a future of freedom and equality for both Palestinians and Israelis by ending the occupation. As a team of advocates, filmmakers and journalists, Just Vision creates films about the under-documented stories of Palestinian and Israeli activists.

Award-winning films include Encounter Point, My Neighborhood, Budrus and The Wanted 18.

4. The Jerusalem Fund – Washington D.C.

The Jerusalem Fund aims to foster a greater awareness for the Palestinian cause and improve the livelihood of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and diaspora.

The Jerusalem Fund works to accomplish these goals through three programs:

The Humanitarian Link, which provides direct aid and relief services to Palestinian communities; the Palestine Center, which functions as the educational branch, hosting regular lectures and redistributing published articles; and the Gallery Al-Quds, which features contemporary Arab-American and Arab artists whose work centers on issues of the Arab and Islamic world.

5. The Freedom Theater – Jenin Refugee Camp, Gaza Strip

The Freedom Theater inspires creativity and encourages theater arts to empower the youth and women living in Jenin to explore their own potential and use art as a catalyst for social change.

In 2008, the Freedom Theater launched a theater school that offers intensive three-year programs in various fields: acting, dance, movement, voice, acrobatics, improvisation, playwriting, dramaturgy, history of theatre, costume design, set design, production and stage management.

Whether it is by providing direct aid or spreading awareness, these five nonprofit organizations are saving lives, providing sustainability and making a difference in the fight against poverty in Gaza.

Kristyn Rohrer

Photo: Pixabay