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General News    H4'ed 7/24/14

The Courage of Humanitarian Aid Workers in Gaza

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July 21, 2014: "My children continue to scream through the night. My baby cannot be consoled. My five-year-old wants to sleep facing me and in my arms. She doesn't want me to be out of her sight. We are now 12 people hunkered down in the center of our apartment."

July 22, 2014: "Today I wrote a story about ANERA's distribution of food parcels to 500 families in Khan Younis and Rafah. I talked by phone with a couple different families and learned about the tragedies they are suffering. One woman talked about fleeing from their homes so quickly that they didn't have time to put on shoes and they all scattered in different directions. She said she literally had to walk over dead bodies to get away" In one kind oddly bright piece of news, a local church has opened its doors as a refuge to all who are fleeing from their homes. Muslims and Christians are feeling their brotherhood. We are bonded over this and I, as a Muslim, feel it's a very powerful and meaningful thing."

July 23, 2014: "One thing that is giving me strength is the work that ANERA has been able to do. My colleagues are braving dangerous conditions to go to our warehouse and to coordinate delivery of food and medicines at a time when they are desperately needed. It really means a lot to be part of an organization and a team that can make positive things happen in the face of so much adversity."

This writer cannot read Rania Elhilou's blog without being moved beyond belief by her caring and her courage. For all of the politics and posturing around the horrible, deadly war enveloping Gaza, Rania's blog is a testament to what's really important about the role of nonprofits in delivering humanitarian aid where the conditions are unimaginably difficult. Her witness attests to the importance of relief organizations like ANERA whose concerns rise above the petty, often silly stuff that is the quotidian content of much nonprofit commentary.

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Rick Cohen is a commentator on the politics of nonprofits and foundations, writer for Nonprofit Quarterly, editor of NPQ's Cohen Report, former executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

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