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Inspiring Stories of Strength and Hope from Gaza

May 29, 2024
Credit: Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua

“Whatever [the Israelis] have done, they never managed to kill our smiles,” Abul Mu’ti Abd Rabbu, Palestinian film director, once poignantly said.

Many struggle to grasp the strength of spirit of Palestinians. They stand like ancient monuments, seemingly impervious to the blows of hardship. How do they keep hope and joy despite such intense loss? How do their spirits continue to rise like city towers, even as their homes get destroyed?

Witnessing their journeys, and their acts of resistance and hope, compel us to reflect on the ineffectiveness of destruction when met with reconstruction, and the insignificance of cruelty when confronted with love.

Below are inspiring accounts of Palestinians in Gaza who have triumphed over their challenging reality, demonstrating the power of their spirit.

Powering lights in a refugee camp

For 20 days, living in total darkness without electricity, 15-year-old Hussein Muhammad al-Attar created a gadget to light his family’s tent in Rafah.

“I built a wind turbine gadget that produces electricity from motion,” he explained.

“Its motor, constructed with magnetic coils, generates power with each rotation. The electricity travels through wires to our tent, providing light.”

Like many Palestinian children who keep learning despite challenges, Al-Attar hopes to finish his education and become an engineer after the war.

Teacher establishes “tent school” for Palestinian students

Credit: Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua

After being displaced to Rafah, in southern Gaza, Nihad Badreia, a Palestinian teacher, established a “tent school” for approximately 600 school-age children living in a refugee camp.

Witnessing the war’s devastating impact on children’s mental well-being and ability to learn, she became a firm believer in education’s power to heal.

“It’s been tough for our students to continue their education because of the conflict. They’ve also been unable to see their classmates, which could have a negative impact on their mental well-being,” said Badreia.

Through a fundraising campaign and working alongside the Palestinian Ministry of Education, Badreia and other teachers ensured the students’ return to school in refugee camp tents.

“I’m so happy to be back in school and writing in my notebooks again. I missed my lessons, my friends, and my teachers,” expressed one student, Shahd al-Amasi.

Gaza soup kitchen in tents

Credit: NBC News

Amid the grim reality of war and food shortages in Gaza caused by Israel’s aid restrictions, Hani Almadhoun, director of UNRWA USA, and his brother Mahmoud, who is trapped in the war zone, established a soup kitchen that provided daily sustenance for 3,000 people.

Starting small, Mahmoud gathered tomato paste, cooking oil, and just enough wood for a fire. Hani raised funds online, which were sent directly to his family in Gaza to buy food locally.

The initial stews fed 120 families, with hundreds more coming in the days after, offering vital nourishment to those with no other options. Today, the soup kitchen feeds 3,000 people daily, with plans to expand further.

“The joy I receive every day when I wake up to see these images and pictures, that’s the one thing that allows me to open my eyes because I’m horrified,” Hani expressed.

 

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