A Dubai school has successfully raised Dh35,000 in just four hours to support the beleaguered population in conflict-stricken Gaza, drawing immense pride from a Palestinian student. The Al Salam Community School organized an event on Friday, celebrating the rich culture, art, and cuisine of Palestine to generate vital funds for the ongoing Gaza aid campaign in the UAE.
Yara Sheiko, a 14-year-old Palestinian student, expressed his pride in the initiative, emphasizing its significance in raising awareness about the humanitarian crisis stemming from the Israel-Gaza conflict. “As a Palestinian, I’m very proud and honored that this was a success. We felt the need to spread awareness and to help raise money for this cause,” he shared with The National.
For Yara, the people in Gaza are like family, and the event provided an excellent platform to share his Palestinian culture. “It means a lot that this school helped raise more than Dh35,000 by setting up donation boxes and giving us the opportunity to volunteer and organize them.”
Principal Kifaya Khan revealed that the school collaborated closely with The Emirates Red Crescent and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to support the Tarahum for Gaza campaign, translated as Compassion for Gaza. Mr. Khan acknowledged the direct impact of events in Palestine on a significant portion of the school community, and the desire to support the people in Gaza led to the collaboration.
More than 700 individuals from the school and the broader community attended the ticketed event, which featured arts and crafts workshops, stalls, activities, and food. Attendees could purchase individual tickets for Dh30 or family tickets for Dh100. The school’s pupils proposed the idea, and parents took charge of organizing the event, aiming to build on the success of senior pupils who led a donation drive in October.
Mr. Khan expressed surprise at the overwhelming response, stating, “We’ve been raising money through other channels, and it’s been nowhere near the same amount.” The event exceeded its fundraising target, thanks to the community’s enthusiastic support.
Various activities took place at the event, with restaurants donating profits to the Emirates Red Crescent, workshops offering insights into traditional Palestinian embroidery (Tatreez), and sessions for bracelet-making. Sarah Khawaja, a Jordanian mother with children at the school, appreciated how the event showcased Palestinian heritage and culture while simultaneously raising funds. “We had poetry being recited by children talking about Palestine and its beauty.”