Anglican appeal for child nutrition project in Gaza
[ABM] The national mission agency of the Anglican Church of Australia (ABM), has launched a tax appeal to boost a child nutrition project in Gaza. Parents and children are benefiting from this assistance in Beit Hanoun, a poor area of Gaza, near the Israeli border that was hit hard in the 2014 bomb attacks. Since the attacks, ABM’s partner, the Al Ahli Arab Hospital - a medical facility of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem - has continued to help children restore and maintain their health.
The Child Nutrition Programme seeks to build health profiles for children and help families that are struggling to cope. Over the course of three months, children are given a medical assessment by an expert paediatrician and a programme of nutritional supplements is developed. The hospital provides the necessary supplements and monitors the children for signs of improvement.
ABM’s Programmes Director, Dr Julianne Stewart visited the Gaza Strip last year and met some families that have been supported by the hospital, including three year old Abdullah and his mother, Hyat – who is just 34 years old and has nine children under 18. Abdullah’s father is unemployed and struggles to feed his family. Hyat said, “Abdullah is doing well. I thank God he has improved. We give him his vitamins, enhanced milk, and food parcels from the Ahli. He is 12kg now.”
Staff members at the programme told Dr Stewart that being underweight shouldn’t be the only criterion for entering the programme. Many children are anaemic, since the most common meal for poor women and children is bread and tea. It is clear there are complex needs on the Gaza Strip. Dr Steward said: “All families are grateful for the programme. Many mothers were shy when speaking to me, but their concern or happiness comes across in their facial expressions and gestures. One mother, Tahreer, said her two year old boy had improved a little after completing the programme. She would like him to go for a second round of treatment so that he could continue to improve.”
“I felt privileged to meet these families, and was touched by their kindness and determination in the midst of such hardships. The importance of this Child Nutrition programme, not only for the vital supplements it provides to needy children, but also in the support given to mothers in health education, cannot be under-estimated. It is indeed expressing the love of Christ to those who need it the most,” Dr Stewart said.
ABM is asking donors to : “please consider a tax-deductible gift before June 30 so children on the Gaza Strip can continue to receive quality care and nutrition support.”