Growing Up Under Occupation
In Gaza, the children know more about politics than they do about having a childhood. The occupation, checkpoints, protests, curfews – it can all have a significant impact on a child’s upbringing. For Alaa, a 15-year-old girl from Alsaftawi, Gaza is and always has been home. Growing up in such a politically unstable place, Alaa felt protected by her large family, but especially her beloved father.
When she was six years old, Alaa lost her father to cancer. Even to this today, she cannot look at his pictures without being overcome with emotions. No one can take the place of her father in her heart, she says. After her father’s passing, she immersed herself into drawing and singing. She hopes to become a famous artist one day, and has also developed a passion for photography.
Alaa is just one of the many Palestinian youth supported by Zakat Foundation of America’s (ZF) Orphan Sponsorship Program (OSP). After being enrolled into the OSP, Alaa received winter kits, food packages, tuition for school, and fresh meat during Udhiya (Qurbani) season. In addition, her family receives a monthly stipend to help with any other needs such as healthcare.
ZF’s OSP program has greatly expanded after being established in 2001. The program currently sponsors orphans around the world in countries such as Palestine, Syria, Turkey, and Pakistan. Learn more about ZF’s OSP to help children such as Alaa.