Galway fairtrade company helps special needs children in Gaza

Irish Quaker Faith in Action and Mount of Olives Imports combine to support special needs school in Gaza

The speech therapy facilities which are funded by the Galway company.

The speech therapy facilities which are funded by the Galway company.

A Galway-based company set up to sell Palestinian Fairtrade olive oil in Ireland is supporting a special needs school in Gaza with funds to purchase speech lab equipment.

The help will ensure that many children with hearing and speech problems will get treatment that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

The company, Mount of Olives, was established by well-known Galway-based activists Niall Farrell and Richard Kimball and re-invests the profits back into schools and youth projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

The main beneficiary so far is the Nour El Marifa El Khairia Association — a special needs school located in the poorest area of Nuseirat Refugee Camp, the ‘New Camp’ in Gaza’s Middle Governate. The Nuseirat camp is home to more than 57,000 people.

Established in August 2000, The Nour El Marifa El Khairia Association has been working to meet the needs of children and their families from pre-school to graduation by providing educational support to children with special needs, and material and social support to their families.

Many of these families have no income, more than 80 per cent of the families live below the poverty line and are completely dependent on outside support from UNRWA and other NGOs.

The Nour El Marifa El Khairia Association performs many functions by providing a focal point for the community. Many of the auxiliary staff have been recruited locally and their volunteers work with other agencies to identify and reach needy families in order to distribute aid as well as organise sporting and cultural events.

According to John Ging, the director of UNRWA operations, the population of Gaza are suffering collective punishment that is so pervasive as to affect every aspect every individual’s life, leaving every family struggling to cope.

“The two principle issues underpinning the shocking and shameful humanitarian situation in Gaza are the violence and the lack of access for people and supplies to get into and out of the Gaza Strip.

“The lack of credible mechanisms of accountability to international legal standards for the use of lethal force, and punitive social policies by decision makers is feeding a growing sense of injustice and despair on the one hand and a perception of arrogant impunity on the other.”

The effects of the trauma and poverty on the psychology of the population are being evidenced by the declining academic standard achieved by students of all ages where more and more children are being assessed with some form of special needs, and over 40% of the children and their families are suffering from serious psychological disorders.

The Katpentax, Visipitch IV, Speech Lab Equipment, purchased by IQFA in conjunction with the Galway based Mount of Olives Imports, will help dozens of children with hearing problem, and delayed speech development, obtain treatment while treatment can be most effective.

Abdl Galil Abu Ghrab, the director of the Nour El Marifa El Khairia Association is overjoyed with the machine and describes the Visipitch IV as “simply fantastic.”

With improved speech these children will be enabled to achieve their full potential, be better equipped to avail of the opportunities of education, and in turn, participate more fully in society.


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