The Maia Project: Bringing Clean Water to the Children of PalestineRachel Corrie Children’s Center
There is a growing water crisis in Palestine that affects agriculture, industry, and the health of virtually every adult and child. In the Gaza Strip, poor sanitation and over-extraction have polluted the limited water supply. In September 2009, the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) launched the Maia Project (Arabic for “water”) to provide Palestinian children with clean, safe drinking water.
This project began when the Student Parliament at the UN Boys’ School in Bureij Refugee Camp, Gaza were given the opportunity to choose one thing they most wanted for their school: They chose to have clean drinking water. MECA’s partner in Gaza heard about this vote and, after meeting with representatives from the school and the Student Parliament, came to MECA to see if we could respond to the children’s request for drinking water. MECA provided the funds to build a water purification and desalination unit for the school in 2007.
The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) began working with the Rachel Corrie Children’s Center before the building was complete. In December 2003, we provided start-up funds to purchase furniture, art supplies, and computers for the new center. Since then we have supplied back-packs with school supplies for the children at the center and continued to support their diversifying programs. In 2007, we bought educational toys and games and new furnishings for their children’s playroom and donated the books for their children’s library.
The Rachel Corrie Clinic and Children’s Center is named for a young woman from the United States who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in Rafah. She spent several months volunteering in Rafah with the International Solidarity Movement and after her untimely death in March 2003, the Union of Health Work Committees named their clinic and children’s center after her. The Children’s Center is dedicated to building relationships between the isolated children and youth in Rafah and their peers in other countries.
The Children’s Center provides creative and educational opportunities to the children of Rafah City and Rafah refugee camp. They hold art classes, summer camps and a variety of after-school programs.