Children in refugee camps are extremely impoverished, many of them enduring physical and emotional consequences. Living in these conditions is full of hardship, often producing a chronic stress response which weakens the immune system and makes mental well-being a serious challenge. Feelings of belonging, security, and hope are critical for the healthy development of children. Sadly, living in a refugee camp does little to nourish these needs. Food is often a dire priority for these children and families, pleasures like toys often the afterthought of wishful thinking. However, play is extremely important to children, and for children.
Providing toys and hair accessories may, at first, seem like a misdirection of funds. But nothing could be further from the truth. Providing such gifts for children in refugee camps in Gaza proved to spark a light of innocence and joy for the children receiving them.
Wafa, the project assistant at MECA shares,
"It was my greatest pleasure to purchase these toys for Gazan kids. It is one of my happiest moments and will remain in my memory forever. We purchased all my favorite toys that I dreamed about as a kid and all the toys the children asked for.
At first, we thought that we preferred to purchase essential needs for children, such as clothes and schools bags, but we later realized that toys are also essential, as many of these kids and their parents cannot afford toys and are lucky to simply have food on the table."
From the MECA Team to the PaliRooter Community:
"The amount of happiness you brought to the hearts of these children and the number of smiles you drew on their faces is indescribable. We thank each and every one of you who helped make this endeavor possible. The difference you’ve made is truly priceless. Thank you."
300 toys and 100 hair accessories were distributed to children in Nuseirat and Khan Younis refugee camps.
Long Term Impact
Simply put, simple acts of kindness can have a significant effect on an individual, not just for days or weeks, but for a lifetime. Receiving a gift from beyond the borders and confines of refugee life reminds children that there is a world out there that is looking after them and cares for them deeply. It is important to have acts of kindness like these to turn to and remember when now, and down the road, they may be faced with discrimination and hardship. As the saying goes, learning to ‘Pay it Forward’ early on in life can lead to greater resilience for individuals, for communities, and for the world alike.