WAUK Newsletter 09/12/2011

1. Member of Parliament visits WA-UK Projects in Jerusalem, AWU Kindergarten in Jerusalem

Mr. Richard Burden MP, Chair of the All Party Britain-Palestine Parliamentary Group was in Jerusalem last month and on Saturday 19th November2011 he spent the day visiting WA-UK projects in Jerusalem.

He was able to see several of our Kindergarten projects and also visited the Maqassed Hospital where we manage the Shirin Fund for Children with Special Needs.


Left: Richard Burden MP Visiting a Mother & Child in Maqassed Hospital. Right: Richard Burden MP visiting a Kindergarten in the Old City of Jerusalem

2. The Cycle 4 Gaza Challenge 2011

Unfortunately for us our check-in day in Greece for the October 2011 Cycle Challenge (including all 42 registered cyclists) was on 19th October – two weeks before this the Greeks declared the 19th of October a national strike day. After much discussion and follow-up with our corporate sponsor in Greece and our Greek travel agents, it was confirmed this would affect the flights into Greece and could prevent some cyclists arriving in time to meet the one transfer coach to Olympia (3-4 hours journey at 6pm on the 19th) – which would make the start early on the 20th for all 42 impossible.

The decision was taken to reschedule all 42 flights to the 20th October and re-plan the whole tour – changing some of the hotels along the route. It was a huge task and it took a week to complete. At that point the Greeks then declared a two-day strike from the 19-20th October! Which was extremely bad luck for us. On top of this both our corporate sponsor and Greek tour agent declared the situation force majeure, with increasing strike action and hostility towards the Greek government building, the situation was unprecedented and extremely volatile and we were informed that we should cancel. With safety of all paramount, we had no choice but to cancel which was hugely disappointing after all the work we had all put in.

However two of our cyclists quickly went on to plan their own cycle in the same week the Greek tour was planned, but in Italy for 3 days! They did not want to disappoint all their sponsors and were determined to raise funds for the projects in Gaza supporting young children with disabilities and special needs. Together they raised £15,000, which is excellent.

As well as this, the Cycling for Gaza team have now organised a new 3-day cycle challenge in Jordan this month!

26 cyclists (many who had signed up for Greece) set off yesterday from Aqaba, covering 130KM, along the Dead Sea Highway en route to Amman. Setting off at 6.30am as the sun rose, but with heavy winds slowing them down (but lovely warm sun) they took more than 10 hours to complete the day one journey. Today by 11.30am Jordan time – they have already covered 90KM of another 130KM – but they did have to get up at 4.45am! Very gruelling hours and distances – but so far they have raised £90,000 for our children’s projects in Gaza. Tomorrow is the final day with a more relaxed distance of 85km; it’s been quite a year with the challenges of the cycling challenge!

Follow their journey on Twitter here:


3. Christmas Emergency Appeal - Jal El Baher Fishermen


Jal el Baher Gathering, south Lebanon, is located on a 30m wide strip of sandy beach, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Tyre highway, and is home to 250 Palestinian refugee families living in the very poorest conditions you can imagine for over 50 years.

Homes are constructed from make-shift concrete blocks, metal poles, and corrugated metal sheet roofing, very susceptible to extreme summer heat and winter cold. During winter months stormy seas wash away their foundations, flood the homes, and bring in debris from the sea; the homes are also flooded from rivers of heavy rain travelling down the beach from the Tyre highway behind.

Last winter heavy storms severely flooded all the homes, destroying more than 70 and badly damaging the rest, and the fishermen’s boats and equipment were badly damaged and some was lost at sea. WA-UK was able to quickly provide GBP£10,000 for emergency food and blanket packs back in Dec 2010. This was the only support 250 families received.

We urgently need to find support to repair and replace the boats and nets to restore these fishermen’s income, so they can repair their homes and support their families this winter.

  • £12 Provides a family pack of blankets.
  • £30 Provides a food pack including rice, lentils, cheese, beans, oil, and home cleaning items, etc.
  • £40 Provides a larger food pack for those with extended families.
  • £100 Repairs damaged fishing nets.
  • £400 Provides a loan to repair boats and fishing equipment.

We will highly appreciate any support you can offer, Please Donate here