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Community / Two Palestine fundraising appeals with local angles

Reem Al Soufi Shemilt with staff nurses Staff Nurses Gwen Angus (left) and Thelma Irvine, taken in the Raba Indian restaurant, around 2004. Photo: private

SHETLAND NEWS is highlighting two fundraising efforts with a local angle set up to help the people of Palestine who continue to suffer from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Reem Al Soufi Shemilt, who worked at the Gilbert Bain Hospital in the early 2000s as part of her training, and who is now a consultant in emergency medicine at a hospital in Scotland, is raising money to supply formula milk to Gaza hospitals.

“It is estimated that 183 babies are born every day in Gaza, they should not be fed anything but breast or formula milk,” she writes in her appeal.

“However, mothers are starving, some were killed leaving their vulnerable newborns to extended family members who are now struggling to find formula milk.”

There are an estimated 3,000 babies between the age of one day and six months living in Gaza at any one time.

Al Soufi Shemilt said her late father grew up in a refugee camp in Gaza, and his stories of battling poverty and oppression were etched in her memory.

She is collaborating with ScotAid to deliver formula milk purchased in Egypt to the Palestinian Red Cross/Crescent who can reliably get the milk into Gaza.

Her fundraising page can be found here.

Meanwhile, funds are also be raised to help rebuild the Palestine Equestrian Club in the West Bank city of Ramallah which was destroyed by the Israeli army at the end of last month. 

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Heather Bursheh, who grew up and went to school in Shetland. The daughter of former director of public health Derek Cox is married to a Palestinian and moved to Ramallah in the 1990s.

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In her fundraising appeal she described how the army reduced the centre’s stables, arena, cafe, offices and grounds to rubble.

“The horses are temporarily being kept nearby in conditions that are far from ideal, and there is an urgent need to build stable accommodation, especially given the winter weather.”

The club, which opened its gates in 2017, is managed by coach Khaled Afranji, who has dedicated his time to helping people, particularly children with additional support needs, to learn to ride, as well as putting on events and bringing a community together.

All proceeds from this fund will go directly to the Palestine Equestrian Club, to bring the horses home, rebuild the club and to bring back hope to the children use it.

The appeal can be supported here.

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