The Challenges of Building a Playground in Gaza
It is amazing how difficult it can be trying to help kids who are having serious life challenges if the place you choose to help them is Gaza. At Hope and Play, we have made 2009 a year of support for Gaza after the suffering that the most recent Israeli attacks have caused, especially on top of blockades to an area already impoverished due to decades of occupation. Raising funds is the most straightforward part of this. Challenges that come up include:
- Getting playground material in. We have identified a location (see later for issues on this as well) to build a playground, but getting materials in to build a playground poses significant difficulties. I’m not sure whether the Israeli Defence Force is concerned that a number of obese children may jump simultaneously on one side of a seesaw to catabult a missile into Israel. That’s of course based on the assumption that Israel allows enough food into Gaza to allow for normal levels of nutrition, let alone obesity! Or perhaps one could think of how the same might be achieve with a swing. As a result, it will need to be build either through recycled (preferably not taking down another playground!) material, or possibly smuggled in. See the challenges of getting anything into Gaza (HYPERLINK).
- Locating the playground. It appears to me that the site looks quite close to the Israeli border. The Israeli Defence Force has recently dropped leaflets telling Palestinians not to get too close to the border wall. In the process of dropping these, they injured a child, as reported by Israeli newspaper Haaretz. That’s 300-odd metres for the entire length of one of the most densely populated spots on the planet into which no one can go. I will need to check where our build site was.
- Getting money in. There is now a liquidity crisis in Gaza to add to the humanitarian one. As the Israeli authorities have been restricting the entry of cash into Gaza, the act of actually paying for goods becomes somewhat difficult. As the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports, just transacting in cash has now become difficult.
And the list goes on ad nauseam. We’ll get it done, but really, it shouldn’t be that hard!