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Personal Account — Visit to Gaza

We then moved to the tailor training workshop which provides a one year training course in tailoring techniques targeting school dropouts to equip them with a profession they can make a living with. The energy demonstrated by these twenty students who must have been in the 16-18 age group was not one of school dropouts, but rather teenagers looking eager to finish their training and move on in life. The third stop was at the computer lab which is also the house of the administrative secretary training program which is a one year training program in languages, writing, and computer skills. One of the students decided to show off her English skills and told us in perfect English that she hopes to land a job with one of the international corporations that will eventually come to Gaza once she graduates. It was clear that the hope is very well alive in the eyes of this young lady for a better future for her and for Gaza.

The final stop at the center was to meet with the staff of the Emergency Assistance Program still ongoing as I visited, and with the social workers who receive the applications, do the home visits and onsite evaluations, collect the supporting documents and make a determination on the worthiness of each case to receive aid. A clear criterion is followed and the workers are very faithful in ensuring that they work in a very transparent way.

The team went out of its way showing me samples of their work and urged me to talk to some of the applicants available in the center at the time of my visit, an invitation I appreciated. It was clear that the recipients were very appreciative of the assistance granted to them, and noted that they use the money to buy basic food supplies. Their only complaint was that the NECC team was too strict in their selection criteria. My host was proud to point out that they would rather return unused funds rather than spend them in an inefficient manner. He added that the needs are great, but more time is needed to get the funds to the neediest. I promised him and his team to lobby with our many contributors to this project for more time to allow them to do their work properly.

Our Eyes and Ears on the Ground — Myrrh Bearers

My next meeting was with members of the board of the voluntary Myrrh Bearers Orthodox Society who manages the emergency assistance program to help some 100 Christian families. The mostly ladies group was most appreciative of the assistance granted to the Christian families, especially after the war. They explained to me the mechanism they use to allocate funds, especially the attention they pay to ensure there is no duplication in funding. A list of needy Christian university students who study at Gaza universities was presented to assist them with their tuition fees. The list was clearly marked with a column that included their evaluation of each case, and they noted if there were other organizations assisting the students. A great sense of responsibility was clear in their approach. I explored with them some possibilities for future funding to meet their growing needs. Though the meeting was short, it was important to touch base with this group of dedicated Christian local volunteers trying to do the best they can under very difficult circumstances.

The Important Interventions of the Church

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