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“A blog post entitled ‘Stories of Hope’ doesn’t feel right as I write this, as bombs fall across Gaza and we wake up bracing for bad news each morning.” Karin Joseph writes about a glimmer of hope in the rubble of Gaza.
Stories of Hope
Doing Hope in... Gaza
The Gaza Sunbirds
26th October 2023
A blog post entitled ‘Stories of Hope’ doesn’t feel right as I write this, as bombs fall across Gaza and we wake up bracing for bad news each morning. At the time of writing, over 6,500 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since hostilities began on 7th October, and many more are missing under the rubble.
For the last three years, Amos Trust has supported the Gaza Sunbirds, a para-cycling team based in the Gaza Strip. An inspiring story of hope long before the latest war, the team formed after an Israeli sniper shot Gazan Olympic cycling hopeful Alaa al-Dali in the leg in 2018, which meant it needed to be amputated (an event which Alaa describes as “the amputation of his dream”).
Inspiring: The Gaza Sunbirds para-cycling cycling team.
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The team was formed by Alaa, with other amputees, with the aim of representing Palestine at international paralympic events such as Paris 2024. However, the athletes’ mission has now shifted after they decided to work to provide essential supplies to their communities.
“For the last three years, Amos Trust has supported the Gaza Sunbirds, a para-cycling team based in the Gaza Strip.”
We spoke with Karim, a co-founder of the Gaza Sunbirds who is based in London. Karim gave us an update on what the Sunbirds athletes are currently up to in the Gaza Strip:
“The team’s story right now is really a story of resistance in the face of the horrors that we are seeing at the moment. At the start of this, the athletes decided they wanted to begin sharing stories. Not only that, but they wanted to launch an aid programme in Gaza to help their communities.
Our team, particularly because they all have disabilities, are struggling with the financial pressure, as everyone else on the Strip is. The majority of our team is homeless at the moment. They have come from all around Gaza to flee to the south. Team members have been messaging us for over a week, updating us that they do not have water or food. We have been lucky that the team has decided to come together and to do this community action.
Ray of Hope: Ali Karim, co-founder of the Gaza Sunbirds.
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They have provided more than 5 tons of food to people at this point. They just did another 100 food parcels today, each weighing 8-10 kgs. They are steadfast in what they are doing, but the unfortunate news is that Gaza is running out of food. For example, the supermarket we bought food from three days ago was bombed yesterday.
At the start of this, the athletes decided they wanted to begin sharing stories. Not only that, but they wanted to launch an aid programme in Gaza to help their communities. Ali Karim, co-founder of the Gaza Sunbirds
So, this is the reality they find themselves in. They are risking their lives to provide people with the support they need right now. So, I am very proud of my team and it is an honour to work with each of them.
The team’s message, particularly, is in the face of all of this horror, oppression and injustice, we, the people of Gaza, will not be forced to live in fear. They want to extend a ray of hope to the community through the work they are doing right now.”
For more of the Gaza Sunbirds’ story and how they have shifted their mission during the current crisis, please read this fantastic article from Huck Magazine.
Read more about the Gaza Sunbirds.
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