A Message from Egypt from our CEO
By Ridwana Wallace-Laher
CEO, Penny Appeal
The situation in Palestine has left us all in a state of despair, disbelief and often immersed in feelings of helplessness. Just like you, my heart is aching for our brothers and sisters. I have felt guilty about all the things I’m privileged to have and all the decisions I am freely able to make. I wake up in the morning with a roof over my head and think about the 1.5 million who have been displaced and are desperately trying to find safety. I look at my daughters and think about all the mothers and fathers who have lost their children to the relentless bombardments – more than 6000 children have now been killed, Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Illahi Rajioon. Just like you, I have stood in prayer and wept day and night. So, if there is one thing I know for certain, it is that we are united in our pain, and in our desperation to help those suffering.
Penny Appeal have been working round the clock since the outbreak of violence began 47 dreaded days ago. We have been working with our established partners in Gaza to distribute supplies which we already had stored there. These included non-perishable food packs, hot meals, and medical supplies. However, these supplies quickly ran out, and despite the many obstacles around delivering aid via Egypt, we made it our mission to do all that we possibly could to distribute our supplies. Thankfully, we were able to secure a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Egyptian Red Crescent which has allowed our aid to be sent via the Rafah Border Crossing into southern Gaza. Being one of just a few humanitarian organisations with this access, we have a huge opportunity and an even bigger responsibility to deliver as much aid as possible to those suffering. Alhamdullilah, we have already seen shipments of food packs and emergency supplies reach our brothers and sisters in Gaza.
The plight of the people of Palestine has been a long and painful one, though what we have witnessed in recent weeks is like nothing we had ever seen before. Desperate to do all I can to help ensure the smooth and efficient delivery of our aid, I flew out to Cairo on Tuesday and met with colleagues and partners at the warehouse, where packing of aid was in full swing. Food pack prep was first on the list! I filled hundreds of boxes with pasta, flour, cheese, chickpeas, and other non-perishable food items before loading them on to the Penny Appeal truck, headed for Gaza. Seeing the amount of supplies we had accumulated thanks to our incredible donors brought tears to my eyes while knowing that this is merely a drop in the ocean of what is needed made me realise that this mission is only just beginning.
We then visited the Ahl Masr Burns Hospital in New Cario, where we partnered with their teams to prepare boxes of life-saving medical supplies as part of our distributions to Gaza. The Ahl Masr Burns Hospital was extremely busy preparing for the arrival of children and adults from Gaza who have received life-threatening burns from the air strikes and ground invasion. Those with the most severe burns from explosions, fire, and chemicals will be treated here in the coming days. Insha’Allah.
It is crucial to emphasise that yesterday’s announcement of a four-day ‘humanitarian truce’ is a brief yet critical opportunity for organisations like Penny Appeal to deliver as much aid as possible. It will allow life-saving aid to reach those in desperate need of assistance, and Insha’Allah allow for those badly injured to be treated in Cairo. That said, it is important to recognise that this pause in bombardments is merely a pause, and not a ceasefire. The situation remains dire, and the people of Palestine remain desperate, as they anticipate the continuation of bombardments, deaths and destruction that will continue following this truce.
We stand as witnesses to this deadly ordeal, we stand as witnesses to the suffering of the people of Palestine, and as such we have a responsibility to act, to pray for those suffering, to donate and help provide critical aid, and to do everything in our physical power to help the people of Palestine.
As I continue to prepare these aid boxes, I ask you to please donate whatever you can to help us help those in need. You are helping save lives. Let us forever stand united in our pain, in our solidarity and in providing help to our brothers and sisters across Palestine.
Please donate now via the below link: Ridwana Wallace-Laher is fundraising for Penny Appeal (justgiving.com)
Oh Allah SWT, bestower of mercy, bestow Your mercy on the people of Palestine. Ameen!
MONDAY 27 NOV 2023