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Urgent Call for Help: Save Eman's Displaced Family

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Important and painful update for you all today (3/20/24): "It's Eman, writing from the most miserable area in the whole world. I'm the eldest of six siblings in a family of eight. My heart couldn't bear seeing my family fading in front of my eyes, so I created this GoFundMe campaign attempting to stop this endless pain. Losing our shelter, jobs, and education, my family's tragedy goes on. We are currently divided: part of us is in Deir al-Balah, and the other is in Rafah. Each group experiences different tastes of the bitterness of suffering. Two of my sisters here got Hepatitis. Always feeling sick and so exhausted, due to the harsh living conditions!!! My siblings' health in Rafah is also decaying. We have NO IMMUNITY to fight diseases. No healthy food to feed our worn cells. My family members in Rafah got a horrible virus, too. Finding a quiet, clean place for them to get some rest is IMPOSSIBLE! Worried about them since we can't communicate with them regularly. I'm in urgent need of serious financial support so that I can take action and save my family! Due to this calamity, we have decided to reunite again in a decent, safe place. Our very first goal now is to evacuate from Gaza. Our faces speak the misery we're going through! Two of my sisters are LITTLE...they are children and can't bear the ruthlessness of war life...and pain does not allow either of them to sleep. Also, despite wearing masks, the smell of sewage and rubbish is suffocating us all, especially my mother, who has a chest allergy." Eman's URGENT needs are now: travel expenses, including the cost of passports, as well as everyday needs and rent expenses for eight individuals. Less urgent needs: repair and education expenses. I (Irene) will be posting a new video on my social media accounts and updating everything here to reflect these changes. If you've already donated, PLEASE consider donating again and/or sharing the campaign link widely. We are running out of time.


Many of you know of my dear friend Eman from Gaza City, who is currently sheltering with her family in Rafah. Eman and I are both writers and members of the We Are Not Numbers community. I mentored her in creative writing through WANN, and then she mentored me in Arabic. Today, her life is on hold.

Just days ago, Eman learned from a relative that her Gaza City home was destroyed by Israeli attacks. In her own words: "We left everything there. Our clothes, beds, blankets, covers, basic needs, household items, sofas, furniture, and all the heart-warming memories! We lost everything, literally everything we have!" It took her parents more than 22 years of hard work to build their home. "We built it stone by stone, caring about the design of every inch!" Eman wrote me. Now, the displaced family of eight has nowhere to return to when the bombing stops.

Eman is only 22. Prior to Israel's ongoing attacks, she had recently graduated university at the top of her class, with a bachelor's degree in English literature. She was a teaching assistant at Gaza's University College of Applied Sciences, happy and always ambitious, and had enrolled in a master's program in business administration. Eman has many dreams, one of which is to start her own business and help members of families in need connect with each other across the globe. She says it is painful to think of her dreams right now.

"My family consists of eight members: my parents, my four sisters, my brother, and me," says Eman. "I have a dedicated father who worked day and night to secure us a dignified life. My mother raised us to be decent, caring, educated people with good character, leading vigorous intellectual lives. My sister Ayat is a junior student of English literature who has an academic distinction, and my brother Abedallah excelled in high school but wasn't fortunate enough to experience university life after registering in the Faculty of Engineering; both of their studies were suspended due to this nightmare. My sister Toqa is a secondary school student who dreams of becoming an astronomer. She is knowledgeable and wants to know everything about everything. Batoul is a geek and wants to be a programmer. Sama, the youngest of my siblings, is in grade seven and loves painting! She has a great sense of humor."

Please donate if you are able—any amount helps—or share if you cannot personally contribute financially right now. Eman and her family members have only the clothes on their backs. "I can't imagine what a homeless person may need," she wrote me in her initial message, shortly after she heard the terrible news. "I never went through such an experience [before]."

After careful consideration of the family's needs, Eman has requested financial support to cover the cost of rent, food, blankets, clothing, basic living necessities such as household items, toiletries, and medications, as well as rebuilding expenses when the time comes. Due to the current cost of living in the Gaza Strip being outrageously high, we are attempting to raise $50,000 USD for Eman's eight-person family, so they can survive until there is a ceasefire declared and ultimately rebuild their lives and home.

Let's help a beautiful family get back on their feet. Eman and her family are not numbers!!! I know that if the roles were reversed, Eman would be writing this message in support of me and my own family. This is a chance for YOU to help EIGHT PEOPLE in Gaza directly. I hope you will take it!!

Below please find Eman the Writer's powerful tribute to her family's destroyed home:

"To us, it was a kingdom! It embraced us. Each corner was an eyewitness to the cozy atmosphere of my family's home. What is left now is ashes, along with some photos on our phones.

We surrounded it with various types of flowers and plants in the windows. That distinguished our home from others'! Close friends, our plants were. We wholeheartedly took care of them, and they shared with us fresh air. All turned into dust.

The fire ate our dreams that we secretly whispered to our pillows. The resonance of the melody of my sisters' voices talking to each other has not departed my ears since we fled Gaza City back in October. The room that contained our voices' echoes is fading.

We lost the wardrobes; we spent a great deal of time folding and putting away clothes over the years. Not a single piece of cloth survived to warm our quivering bodies. They were all parts of the untold tale.

The marks my family and I left in our home are gone FOREVER! Even the dining table that I liked to imagine recorded the stories we shared with one other when gathered around it to have lunch every day. It's become black soot.

We are the kind of people who invest their entire lives in education. Unfortunately, our bookcase and studying desks, sitting on which we used to knit our ambitions, lives, and future, are all in the stomach of fire now."


Irene Doukas Behrman
Cambridge, MA

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