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Gaza Relief: Meet The Abu Rizik Family

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As a teacher, connecting youth in Gaza with children from all over the world through the exchange of letters, photos and drawings has become one of my greatest passions. My name is Heather Alexandra. I am the creator and coordinator of the humanitarian education project called Pen Palestine. Through collaboration with so many creative and dedicated teachers of English language from all over the Gaza Strip, I have built friendships with amazingly warm, compassionate, loving, fun, smart people. My dear friend Ahmad Abu Rizik is one of those people. Ahmad's family, like every family in Gaza has lost nearly everything--their homes, belongings, loved ones and their dignity. Your kindness and generosity will help the Abu Rizik family begin to heal and rebuild. Here is Ahmad's story in his own words.

Hello everyone…
My name is Ahmad. I'm a 26 year English teacher, husband and father of two angels Omar and Kenan. Before the war, my social media platforms were a quiet corner of my life where I could talk about and make fanart for my favorite anime with friends online. I also used to share wonderful moments from inside the classroom to show friends how happy teaching English made me. Things have severely changed…

To call the last four months of my life in Gaza a nightmare would be putting it far too lightly. My extended family consisting of my mom, my 6 siblings, 3 of whom are my married sisters, and my wife and two sons, have been stripped of every basic human right imaginable. We have watched our dreams, our health, our futures, and our lives wither away as we hear a constant barrage of rockets raining around us, not knowing if each moment will be our last.

To keep my sanity early on in the war, I took to Twitter to document my thoughts whenever I had access to power. The response from people has been overwhelming, and I could never have imagined I’d have so many people checking up on me and giving me some sense of normalcy during the worst days of my life.

To keep things brief, at the beginning of the war on Gaza, for a period of roughly one month, my family and I took refuge in a relative's house as our home was no longer safe, (now our house has been leveled to the ground.) At that time, we were able to survive on the supplies and basic amenities in my relative's house. We believed (mostly hoped) it would be safe. But it wasn't so we fled to a nearby hospital.

On the night of November 2, my family were sheltering in a room at Al-Quds Hospital when we were hit by what we believed to be a tank shell as it broke through the walls and struck us. We quickly fled to another part of the hospital, and spent an hour in agony lying in our blood and tears, unable to sleep from the explosions and fighting nearby, my big brother Mohammed was hit in his back and he couldn't walk for almost a month.

I wish I could say things improved in the hospital but, sadly, the hospital we were in, like most hospitals in Gaza, was operating at minimal capacity due to previous attacks and disruption of medical supplies. We deteriorated in the overrun hospital for 2 entire days before a single doctor was able to attend to us. Every time it was our turn to be examined, a new wave of wounded patients were brought in, overwhelming the few doctors that were still there. Once we were finally looked at over the coming days, we kept hearing the same things… “Too much time has passed, we can’t fix this.” “If only you had come sooner.” “Because you waited, this won’t heal fully”. I can’t look at doctors anymore without feeling nauseous and dizzy because they have given my family nothing but bad news and broken hope for a month straight.

I cannot describe how grateful I am that most of my family survived. Yet, my lovely father didn't survive the Israeli bullets which sniped him down on the 25th of November, the first day of the so called ceasefire. As this genocidal war continues I'm terrified to lose someone else.


It seems as though every time I believe that my family and I have hit rock bottom, we are hit with the cold reality of a worsening situation. With disappointment, pain, and bad news everywhere I look, I turn to you all as my last resort. I held off from asking for help until this point for multiple reasons… I hoped things would improve and we wouldn’t need help from others, and I didn’t want to put myself in such a vulnerable position.

The food situation is similar: any food sold around the place we sit in is just too expensive due to shortages. Our savings are running dry, and I fear for the day where we must choose between bringing food or water, not both.

My heart hurts when I think about the long term. With your support, I am hopeful that my family will build a new house. With your support, I am hopeful that my mom will be able to smile again. I can only hope that one day I will be able to teach again and return to the person I used to be, a wonderful English teacher. With your support, I hope we will be able to land on our feet and return to a normal life that I didn’t think I would have missed so much when I had it.


It all circles back to you. Whether you donate or share this with friends, I cannot find the words to thank you. My heart is heavy and carries days and months of suffering, but scrolling through countless messages of support on social media until my eyes water has truly shown me that I will never be alone. You all have given me more comfort than you could imagine in my darkest moments, and I hope you all can find it within yourselves to help me and my family just one last time.

With endless love,
Ahmad Abu Rizik

Myself with my beloved father just a few months before he was sniped by a solider on November 2nd, the first day of the supposed temporary ceasefire.

Myself with my beautiful mother before the siege began.

Omar, my first born child in happier times. He is only 3 years old.


  • Hanna Ramsden
    • $20 
    • 4 d
  • A'Maya Ettien
    • $500 
    • 8 d
  • Anonymous
    • $250 
    • 9 d
  • hosni khaterchi
    • $15 
    • 10 d
  • Anonymous
    • $125 
    • 11 d

Fundraising team (3)

Heather Alexandra
Emeryville, CA
Mehryar Mansoor
A'Maya Ettien
Team member

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