A Request: We Are Not Numbers

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A request for for support for a program Palestinian youth and giving them a voice to tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news.

By Issam Adwan  |  We are Not Numbers |  Sept 18, 2020

I want to share some information about an organization that I am very involved with, We Are Not Numbers. I am part of a group of mentors who work with young writers in Gaza, helping them to improve their craft and support their desire to tell their stories and to be heard. We are currently doing a fundraiser and things are desperate. I understand there is so much need and so many causes. The campaign goal is officially over on October 4 and we need to raise $35,000. So far, we have received $5,000. These funds are used primarily for staff salaries in Gaza, as well as rent, electricity, wifi, educational activities, and transportation. WANN has already been forced to stop producing videos due to cost. Any amount is appreciated but I am asking you to stretch and be generous. I just tripled my donation. Please join me in helping this important organization survive in incredibly challenging times and share your commitment and enthusiasm with friends and family.
— Alice Rothchild, physician, author, activist, filmmaker

A personal message from Gaza project manager Issam Adwan:

The worst of my nightmares for Gaza has unfortunately arrived. Coping with a life of electricity blackouts, water shortages and one of the highest unemployment rates in the world is bad enough, but now we have “community spread” of COVID-19.

Recently, I decided to move to Gaza City from Rafah in the far south to save money and dedicate more of my time to We Are Not Numbers and my M.A thesis. Without furniture, electricity or internet connection in my new abode, I was totally disconnected from the news. On my way to the mall to buy some essentials, the police pulled me over, demanding that I return home due to the 48-hour curfew imposed following identification of the first four people diagnosed with COVID-19 who were not travelers.

I cannot begin to describe the feeling in the pit of my stomach. How can we possibly fend off a medical disaster when we have such a shortage of medical equipment, no real ability to physically distance due to the cramped conditions and an already dying economy?

The police barely allowed me time to purchase basic food items before I was forced to return to my bare apartment. I couldn’t sleep, continually refreshing my newsfeed on Facebook and WhatsApp. My anxiety proved well-founded. As I write this, we have 1,588 people with active coronavirus infections and 15 people have died. [as of 9/14 – 1927 cases in Gaza]

Another worry quickly set in: “What about We Are Not Numbers? We’ve been postponing our fundraising campaign for the past three months because we knew our followers around the world were struggling and their attention was elsewhere. We thought it would subside. What should we do now?”

My people, the Gazans, need you to know they are not numbers! We are people, and our lives matter now more than ever. Since the virus began spreading in Gaza, our writers—particularly our newest group of recruits—have been publishing “diary entries” with their personal thoughts, fears and reflections. I can’t begin to fully explain to you how important writing these has been to their sense of well-being. Knowing you are listening and reading is so very motivating.

Why? Because with We Are Not Numbers, we still dare to dream. But the original delay in our fundraising campaign also means this: We are out of money. And so far, by emailing our past donors, we have raised only $4,000. We know you are inundated with requests for donations. We know you may have been personally impacted by COVID-19 yourself. But We Are Not Numbers is too important to too many people to allow it to be a victim of the pandemic.

Read the full article here →