04 July 2010

Nihad in the UK for 10 days. Dove and Dolphin update


Over the last nine months David and Yousef have intensified their efforts to bring Nihad, our representative in Gaza, to the UK. David has not been permitted to visit Gaza by 'Israel' so this has become an urgent matter as we needed to audit our activities there. Finally at the beginning of June Nihad flew into Heathrow from Cairo after a slow journey which included twelve hours in a locked room at Cairo airport. He felt he was lucky as some of the other 30 40 people with him had been there for six days already. He spent his first weekend in London with our trustee Yousef, who showed him the sights and the shops quite an experience. Nihad then came by train to our home on Dartmoor where he relaxed and saw the Devon countryside. The main purpose of his visit took place on his second weekend when we were joined by Yousef who planned and chaired an all day audit of our activities in Gaza.

Sponsoring the Al Jazeera Sports Club for disabled athletes has been most successful with numbers increasing from 30 to over 100 in the last year and this includes men, women and children. The enthusiasm and scope is enormous, as is the need. With more funds this project could reach out to literally hundreds more people.

The Turathona Craft and Cultural Centre has also been successful giving employment and income to men and women. Nihad brought several beautiful hand made items to the UK and Yousef is selling these in London.

Our long standing support of youngsters still at school is a worthwhile scheme which we plan to enlarge. As the children reach school leaving age, Nihad finds replacements. We are encouraging Nihad to give us more feed back on these young people as we know that the sponsors back here in UK appreciate news of those they support. If there is anyone out there who would like to sponsor a young person, please let us know. We give them $30 a month which goes towards their uniform and books and helps the whole family who may have no other income.

On our last day with Nihad before he returned to London for his flight home, we had a full trustees meeting which he was able to join. We discussed new projects, income permitting, and this included a water filter and tank for Al Jazeera Sports Club.
Nihad is also exploring another new project manufacturing and providing unique clothing for disabled folk. We hope we may be able to support this project plus the manufacture of school uniforms which we have done before.

David wrote letters for Nihad to show to the border agencies for both his outward and return journeys explaining his mission and asking the border authorities to speed his journey. This proved very worthwhile in both directions! Delays were minimal. He is reunited with his wife Safad and two children and looking forward to the birth of a third baby this month. He wrote a good e-mail to thank Yousef and ourselves. He was pleased to meet some of the local supporters for an informal lunch and cream tea in our garden.

We press on.

Sue Halpin - trustee.

4th July 2010