£5K raised for Gaza families

More than £5,000 was raised to help widows, orphans and poor families in the war-torn city of Gaza at an event in Batley.

Bradford West MP George Galloway spoke at the Fundraising for Gaza Day at the Pakistan and Kashmir Welfare Association in Staincliffe on Saturday.

The event was organised to highlight the plight of people in desperate need of basic necessities like food, shelter, medicine and clothing, which campaingers say is caused by the Israeli embargo on goods going into the Gaza strip.

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The day was organised by the World Charity Organisation, which Batley man Yusuf Patel founded eight months ago.

The cause is close to Mr Patel’s heart – he has visited the area eight times, including six trips on convoys delivering aid.

Charity co-founder Ferhana Lunat, who also lives in Batley, said: “We were highlighting the situation and the atrocities people are facing. Jewish people are experiencing these problems as well. People are living under sticks and sheets of plastic and that one room is their bathroom, kitchen and living room.”

Mr Galloway, a vocal supporter of Palestine, spoke about the hardships faced by people living in Gaza and footage taken in the area was shown.

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“It was heartbreaking to see what the widows and children are living through,” said Mrs Lunat. “It was great to have George Galloway. The stories he told really captured everybody. We had a lot of good feedback.”

Mrs Lunat said between 800 and 1,000 people attended the event.

The £5726.24 raised will be spent on a long term projects the charity is working on in Gaza.

Mr Patel has bought farmland in the area and is giving the milk and meat from the cows to orphans and widows free of charge. Other projects include an automated bakery that bakes fresh bread every day for poor families, installing and distributing water filters and improving the general living conditions of struggling families.

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Mr Patel said: “We can do a lot with this money – £250 can buy a water filter that will provide clean water, 24 hours a day. We can hand out food packages to the needy.”

The Gaza day was the charity’s first major event, but Mr Patel was keen to stress that the organisation will be supporting countries throughout the world affected by humanitarian disasters.

“It doesn’t matter if you are Muslim, non-Muslim, Jewish or whatever,” he said. “We will look to give asssitance to any country that needs help.”