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Unity for Gaza: Mutual Aid & Resilient Livelihoods

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Amid the breakout of indiscriminate violence in the ongoing war in Gaza, numerous families find themselves trapped in a dire humanitarian crisis. Our primary objective is to assist them by addressing their urgent needs.

Please NOTE that the currency of this fundraiser is in Canadian Dollars (CAD).

Our Story: Gaza Collective
"iRefugee”, our labor of love, was founded in 2020, as a Gaza-based small enterprise dedicated to supporting artisans and craftworkers, while also empowering women and youth through immediate project relief and fostering sustainable employment opportunities for families with skilled crafts like Tatreez, wood crafts, ceramic crafts, and others. Our primary objective is to provide families with the exposure necessary to tap into global markets and earn a passive income. Returning to Gaza in 2023 with aspirations of investing in new products and expanding sales worldwide was our primary objective. However, the harsh reality struck deep when our $5000 investment, coupled with the tireless efforts of numerous artisans, was reduced to rubble. Our sewing workshop, our homes, and the cherished products we poured our hearts into are all gone.

Thus, Gaza Collective emerged— amidst the chaos and destruction, one thing remains unwavering, our determination to persevere. We refuse to let the adversities of war quench our passion and purpose.

Since October 2023, we have led many initiatives to alleviate the suffering of these families by providing essential resources such as water supply, health supplies, food packages and money transfers to assist with the rising cost of living in Rafah through a network of local volunteers and family members.

In the face of such devastation, our only beacon of hope lies in our resilience. With this resolve in mind, we are dedicated to equipping these resilient individuals with the necessary tools to rebuild. Although the road ahead may be fraught with challenges, surrender is not an option.


Why Collective Mutual Aid Matters
Our transition from providing aid only to empowering people and communities represents a fundamental shift in the approach to supporting families in need. While aid remains crucial in addressing immediate humanitarian crises, empowerment and employment strategies offer a pathway towards long-term resilience and self-sufficiency, especially in the initial stages of resettlement. By investing in education, skills training, entrepreneurship, and social cohesion, we can empower displaced families in Gaza to rebuild lost livelihoods with dignity and hope, transcending the current challenges of the war.
Palestinian independence is needed now more than ever, and your support for our initiative marks the first step in a transformative journey of a thousand miles.


Sustainability Over Breadcrumbs:
The war in Gaza has resulted in widespread devastation, leaving many families in dire need of immediate assistance. While providing aid packages is essential in addressing immediate needs, reliance solely on direct aid can foster a sense of dependency among affected communities.

Continuous aid without a pathway towards self-sufficiency can perpetuate cycles of poverty and vulnerability leading to an increased psychological burden on skilled families who lost entire businesses and livelihoods. Moreover, aid delivery is constrained by logistical challenges and political complexities, limiting its effectiveness in reaching those most in need.

Recognizing the limitations of traditional aid models, we are providing complementary alternatives with empowerment strategies to foster self-reliance and resilience among families in Gaza. Central to this transition is supporting initiatives such as microfinance schemes, and job placements with hourly wages are being implemented to equip individuals with the tools and resources needed to secure sustainable work and improve their economic prospects.


Resilience and Social Cohesion:
Beyond economic re-empowerment, efforts to support families in Gaza encompass broader initiatives aimed at building resilience and fostering social cohesion for displaced people. Community-based programs that promote social integration, conflict resolution, and psychosocial support are essential in addressing the underlying trauma and fostering a sense of solidarity among affected populations.

Furthermore, offering educational and recreational programs for children is an utmost necessity for providing psychological relief, particularly for parents who may lack the energy due to food shortages or the capacity to engage their children or bring joy to their lives.

These programs create employment opportunities and allow for direct engagement with families, particularly children, where delivering food and aid packages becomes logistically viable. By strengthening social networks and support systems, communities are better equipped to withstand future shocks and allow for aid to reach underserved communities.


Our Commitment: All of Us Together
Together, we will emerge from the ashes, fortified and resolute. Our mission transcends mere commerce; it's about empowering women, upholding their dignity, and cultivating a fair future for generations to come. Amidst the turmoil of war and the hardships plaguing Gaza, our commitment to supporting its resilient people, especially women, who stand at the forefront of their community remains steadfast.

Through microfinance, and job placements, we're not just offering aid—we're providing pathways to self-sufficiency and dignity. But our mission extends beyond economics. By fostering social cohesion, providing psychosocial support, and creating opportunities for education and recreation, we're rebuilding not just livelihoods, but the very fabric of our community.


Engage with Collective Care in Gaza
Since October, we have directed all our resources toward empowering individuals and families, offering avenues for growth and stability amidst adversity. However, our efforts alone cannot suffice. We implore your support to continue engaging with meaningful changes in our lives.

Join us in our mission. Together, we are Gaza Collective.


Current Projects
1- Embroidery:
Despite the destruction and displacement, we aim to offer embroiderers threads and needles so they can continue their embroidery work in makeshift shelters and tents. By keeping the flame of creativity alive, we strive to reclaim a sense of hope amid turmoil. We can get these products out of Gaza to sell worldwide. Thereby sustaining support for women to provide for their families.



2- Re-establishing a Clothing Factory:
Mahmoud owned a clothing factory with skilled workers before the ongoing devastating war. He had the expertise needed to operate a small home factory but lacked the funds to buy fabrics and pay the workers. We provided Mahmoud with $2000 through aids, enabling him to purchase the necessary tools to begin manufacturing thermal linens and winter clothes. Now, we need an additional $2000 to buy more products from Mahmoud's factory at a fair price to keep distributing clothes for people in tents and shelters, supporting the community while providing a livelihood for his family during these dire circumstances and increasing clothing production.



3- Open a Falafel Stand:
Abdullah is a recent graduate who is the sole caretaker of his family. Abdullah and his mother lack the funds to open a falafel stand near the shelter where they are displaced, to support the family and earn a living. After several attempts to open his falafel stand, Abdullah hopes to make it a sustainable small income during these tragic times.
With a direct transfer of $1,500, Abdullah will be able to buy cooking supplies and establish the falafel stand that contributes to food accessibility in the community while earning income to support his family.

4- Home Bakery:
Samy’s family in Rafah built a mud oven at home and opened a home bakery to operate it daily. The oven has a production capacity of nearly 500 pita breads if it operates 6 hours a day. The bakery could also be used to bake other people’s bread who lack access to ovens. In addition, the bakery can be used for making cookies and other sweets to provide a sugar intake for children and families— which is essential for productive energy.




5- Mothers and Babies Care:
Throughout recent months, our primary emphasis has been on assisting pregnant women and those who have given birth amidst the war. We've provided financial aid to ensure they can afford essentials such as milk, diapers, and other necessities. Sustaining this critical support, remains one of our utmost priorities.

Shortage in diapers and pediatric pads became a nightmare for women and kids in Gaza.
Subsidizing the high costs of obtaining hygiene supplies has very limited capacity in terms of helping families, while it is challenging to find in the first place.
A group of women in Rafah, are currently operating a diapers factory producing multiple reusable products for children and women. We are collecting $2,000 to purchase products directly from them to support the sustainability of the operation of their factory, and to distribute an essential hygiene product for women and children in need.

6- Educational and Recreational Activities:
Given the relentless psychological strain endured by families in Gaza, we are spearheading several educational and recreational initiatives to directly engage with displaced families and children, addressing the urgent need for psychological relief. Our primary goal is to establish a small school catering to children under 12 years old. Providing a “safe” space for children to spend their days is paramount for prioritizing education amidst war, an act that’s already practiced widely by the women of Gaza. Moreover, the school serves as a strategic hub for distributing food supplies to children, creating job opportunities, and hosting recreational events designed to alleviate the psychological burdens faced by families residing in shelters. The school will run a pilot program initially with a pathway for permanent educational space.


All Projects will be documented with photographs and videos in a way that preserves the dignity and the privacy of our people. The campaign will be updated.

We are looking for more initiatives to support. For any further information, please email us or follow our page on Instagram.
If you wish to know more about our Gaza-based small business enterprise "irefugee", follow us on Instagram or visit our website where you can shop our products that carry the spirit of resilience.
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Gaza Collective
Organizer
Toronto, ON

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