Come Dine for Palestine: how can I support refugees?
PUBLISHED: 09:26 12 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:41 12 November 2019
World Refugee Day was commemorated last month on June 20, and across the world people came together to recognise the courage and resilience of refugees.
Today, more than five million Palestinian refugees are registered with the UN agency that provides them with humanitarian assistance and protection, UNRWA. This year marked the 71st year of their displacement, following the Nakba ('Catastrophe'), when at least 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from or fled their homes in historic Palestine. Across the region, Palestinian refugees continue to face poverty, marginalisation and restrictions to their civil and political rights.
Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is a UK-based charity that has been helping Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees for over 35 years. They work across the West Bank, Gaza and in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, providing immediate medical aid at times of crisis, and funding projects that support the Palestinian healthcare system. We spoke to Zahra Yassine, the Community and Challenge Events Fundraising Officer, to find out more about the tireless work they do.
The refugee crisis
In Lebanon alone there are around 450,000 refugees registered with UNRWA. Conditions in the 12 Palestinian refugee camps and other informal gatherings are very poor, negatively impacting the mental and physical health of these communities. In blockaded Gaza, two thirds of the population are refugees and 80% of people depend on some form of foreign aid. In the West Bank's Jordan Valley, the majority of Bedouin communities are also refugees.
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Zahra said: "Our charity's mission has always been to help Palestinians realise their right to health and dignity. We have a wonderful relationship with the Royal College of Surgeons and teams of doctors and nurses who are experts in their fields, and selflessly volunteer to go on medical missions in the West Bank and Gaza to train local doctors and nurses in areas such as breast cancer, limb reconstruction and neurosurgery. Our mobile health clinic visits remote Bedouin communities who otherwise struggle to access healthcare. In Lebanon we have a team of midwives who visit the refugee camps. MAP is an amazing charity and I am so incredibly proud to be a part of the work that we do."
How can I support Palestinian refugees?
There are many ways you can help support the health and dignity of Palestinians, from campaigning for change to raising money. You can take part in challenge events which range from 10k runs or half marathons, to bike rides and events in Palestine itself. Find out more about the ways to get involved with MAP on their Get Involved page.
Come Dine for Palestine
MAP invites you to Come Dine for Palestine, a community fundraising initiative which encourages supporters to host a supper club to raise vital funds for the charity. Hosts will receive a dining pack containing exclusive Palestinian recipes and can invite their friends and family using the branded invitation cards, name cards and MAP bunting. In their dining pack, hosts will also be given copies of MAP's mysterious 'alternative shopping list' to distribute to guests, so they can find out just what their donation could buy. Come Dine for Palestine is a delicious and fun way to bring people together for a celebration of Palestinian food and to raise money for Palestinians urgently in need of your help and support. In addition, supporters who raise over £100 will win a special edition 'Come Dine for Palestine' tea towel! Zahra said: "This nation is about much more than occupation, poverty and displacement. The Palestinian culture and community is vibrant and Come Dine for Palestine celebrates that."
If Come Dine for Palestine sounds right up your culinary street, register today map.org.uk/comedine to start feasting and fundraising. For more information on MAP visit map.org.uk, email email@example.com or call 020 7226 4114.