Why is community engagement important at a global level? This is a question I’ve been asking myself lately and I’m finding that the answer is multi-faceted. Community engagement has many different aspects, each of which contribute their own benefits. From a simple cash donation, to working closely with NGOs and non-profits, to using your voice to educate your peers; the ways you can impact a community are abundant. There is no doubt that this kind of engagement is crucial to achieving goals both locally and globally. Here at PaliRoots, we don’t just agree with this notion, we live and breathe it.
To us, community is everything and it drives our mission. PaliRooters come from different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, nationalities and living situations. We’ve all come together through the PaliRoots movement, but why? It’s because within this community we’ve found friendship, comradely, education, understanding and some of us have even found ourselves. We’ve connected on a love for Palestine, a commitment to the movement and a determination to make a change, to leave the world just a little bit brighter than the way we found it. We inspire each other to support this mission of peace, awareness and mutual respect. Together, we work towards a Palestine that enjoys freedom.
How do we as PaliRooters give back?
First and foremost we give back by being part of the community. By engaging with each other, listening, learning and educating we are already part of the global movement to free Palestine. Word of mouth travels quickly and effectively. Don’t underestimate your ability to create change by simply having the conversation! I recently saw in the back of a friend’s video on Instagram, a rug in her kitchen that featured kufiya print. Of course this was a classic Walmart appropriation, but I reached out to this friend, sent a photo of a kufiya and explained the importance of its design. She was excited to learn of the origins of the design! This might seem small, but one more person knowing about the kufiya is a win for Palestine :)
The PaliRoots Meal Program
We believe strongly in easing the difficulties faced by Palestinians in Gaza. PaliRoots, in partnership with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) provide healthy meals to kindergarten children 5 days per week. The meals will differ daily but tend to include foods such as chicken, meatballs, lentils, salads, fresh and cooked vegetables, fresh fruit and milk. Every purchase from the PaliRoots store guarantees a meal donated to a child in Gaza. An order less than $25 donates a single meal, and for every $25 spent an extra meal will be donated. At the time of writing this, we have donated over 2.4 million meals through MECA to young children living in difficult conditions in Gaza.
PaliRoots Funding Projects
On top of the meal program, PaliRoots frequently runs funding projects to benefit Palestinians. We work closely with non-profit organisations to identify specific needs in order to maximize effect in Palestine. This could be food parcels, warm clothing for winter, school supplies or medicine depending on the time of year, and current situation on the ground. We then run a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for each project! This allows our community to easily make a difference in the lives of countless Palestinians. In 2021 alone, PaliRoots successfully ran 4 fundraising campaigns: Emergency Relief: Gaza Under Attack following the assault on Gaza in May, Ard Al Insan Vitamins & Medicine Project to help treat children suffering from malnutrition in Gaza, Gaza Backpack and School Supplies in September and Share The Warmth in December, providing children with much needed winter clothing ahead of the cold months. To date, PaliRoots together with the support of our incredible community and our invaluable non-profit partners have delivered over $2.8 million of aid to the people of Palestine.
Long Term Effects
The support we’ve been able to provide to our brothers and sisters in Palestine is like a stone tossed in a pond: the initial splash is evident but there remain many ripples expanding outwards, spreading across the surface. It is easy to see the initial success of our campaigns, with Gazan children dressed warmly for winter, eating healthy meals every day at school or given access to required medicine and treatment. If this was the only outcome it would still be a success; worth every bit of time and energy expended to make the campaign happen. But our effect doesn’t end here. A child who is able to eat healthier everyday becomes happier. A child who receives medicine they need, begins to see hope in their life. A child kept warm in the cold winter months has more energy to put into life. A parent whose child is more happy, hopeful and driven no doubt shares in their child’s emotion. In Gaza, a region where 70% of the population lives below the poverty line, where unemployment has reached 60%, where drinking water is difficult to acquire, where power is a luxury only available for 3-6 hrs per day and where mental health issues run rampant, positivity can *literally *****change a person’s life. Our campaigns not only put tangible support into the hands of Gazans, but they provide a reason to smile and show the beautiful people of Palestine that we see you, we hear you and we LOVE you.
♥️ To see further diverse progress of all 21 PaliRoots funding projects, check out this link: PaliRoots Funding Projects
♥️ To support underprivileged students and families in Palestine, you can donate here: PaliRoots Meal Program
About the Author: - Dylan found the story of Palestine as a young adult, and quickly became passionate about learning and educating others of its history and current events. A Canadian born and raised, he's been called a Palestinian by heart and couldn't be more proud to be that.