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13th March 2024

Over 625,000 children and teenagers from Gaza have been out of school for months, and at least 378 schools have been damaged or destroyed.[1] A remarkable teenage girl, displaced in Rafah, has told SAT-7 about her hopes to finish her education and be part of future efforts to rebuild her devastated homeland.

“Children need safety; they need to return to their schools and see their friends,” Dalia, 17, told SAT-7 ARABIC’s You Are Not Alone program. “I ask that they stop the war. The children and women are fed up. We need provisions and safe places to live. Consider the children who are homeless and stop the war.”

Dalia and her family have taken refuge in her uncle’s house in Rafah. The southern border town is hosting an estimated 1.5 million displaced people from other parts of the Gaza Strip, and, as an assault on Rafah looms, there are concerns for the population there who have nowhere else to go. At least 576,000 people in Gaza are “facing catastrophic levels of deprivation and starvation,” according to the deputy chief of the UN humanitarian agency, OCHA.

“I dream every night about my home and my family, because when I have that dream every day my hope of returning is renewed. I remember my room, and I imagine my relatives coming over,” Dalia said.

You Are Not Alone covers current events in the Arab world and gives a voice to those who are vulnerable and marginalized. Since the outbreak of the conflict in the Holy Land, presenter Sirene Semerdjian has interviewed church leaders from the Holy Land and people on the ground, including some in refugee camps.

Fleeing Danger

Dalia’s home in the north was burned down, and the family lost everything they owned. “We stayed for a month in our house after the war started,” she said. “There were so many strikes that we couldn’t continue living… We got in our car and drove. We saw people’s remains on the ground and dead people. We drove towards Rafah, and it was a long drive. The road was dangerous, but we arrived safely in Rafah.”

Dalia, her mother, and siblings have been staying with her uncle for four months, along with 30 other relatives. She said that they were fortunate, because other houses are accommodating between 50 and 100 people, who could be complete strangers.

They survive mostly on canned foods and bread, but the water supply is very limited, and they have to get water from far away on a daily basis.

Hopes for the Future

Despite the dire situation in which she finds herself, Dalia shows resilience and remarkable optimism for the future. She was in her final year of school when the war put her education on hold. Despite the setback for Dalia and older students like her, she hopes to graduate and go to a university overseas. For younger children in the region whose education has been interrupted, SAT-7’s My School program can help fill in the gaps. It is available to watch via satellite television or via the internet on SAT-7 PLUS.

“I want to learn and then come back to serve my country and my people,” Dalia said. “Every girl my age has hope. We will continue our life. We will study and come back to rebuild our country. I dream of finishing this year, getting a high grade, making my parents happy, and studying business or marketing.”

Dalia has already proven her business acumen: she ran a successful online company selling clothes for two years, but all her merchandise was destroyed when her home was burned down. But Dalia is determined to rebuild:

“If we don’t have hope, how can we continue to live? We will return better than before, rebuild, and learn. Even if I lose this year, I still have time, and I will study next year, and everything will return. We will rebuild our universities and schools and learn. As long as we are alive, we must have hope.”

Please Pray




[1] OCHA

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