The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project was founded in 2003 by a group of concerned citizens in Madison, Wisconsin seeking to forge person-to-person relationships with Rafah, Palestine. We also wanted to increase public awareness of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to influence public policy for the benefit of both peoples.
Our work has centered on
- providing solidarity and material assistance to the citizens of Rafah and Palestine in general,
- understanding and educating the public about Palestinian daily life, society, culture, and history,
- exposing the devastating effects of Israel’s occupation of Rafah and Palestine, and
- opposing U.S. support for those Israeli policies that have created a growing humanitarian catastrophe for Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza, and elsewhere.
The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, and donations are tax deductible. MadisonRafah.org is the project’s web site.
We staff information and crafts tables at all of our events and the events of other groups; we annually participate in Madison’s Fair Trade Holiday Festival and Overture International Festival where we sell a large variety of fair trade Palestinian crafts and Holy Land olive oil products. We sponsor and co-sponsor speakers and films throughout the year, including the annual Rachel Corrie Commemorative Dinner and the “speakers to schools” program which provides speakers free of charge to area high schools. The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project offers a Palestine Film Lending Library with a large number of films available for local educational or individual showings.
We belong to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the Madison Area Peace Coalition, and the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice.
Solidarity with Rafah
Since our founding we have tried to raise funds for projects that directly benefit the citizens of Rafah, especially its children. Our first project contributed to rebuilding water wells destroyed by Israeli bombing. Since then we have worked with groups in the U.S. and Rafah to provide
- professional materials to the Gaza Community Health Programme,
- a playground in Tal Al Sultan neighborhood,
- clean drinking water to three schools,
- furnishings and books for the library of the Rachel Corrie Center for Children and Youth, and
- funding for the Samira Project to aid traumatized children and their parents.
We have also raised emergency relief for repeated Israeli military assaults on Gaza. Every year we sponsor a Rachel Corrie Commemoration honoring the American peace activist who was killed in Rafah by an armored Israeli military bulldozer just two months after our founding.
The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is an all-volunteer organization. It has a core group of members who commit to an active role and meet monthly. We have coordinators responsible for olive oil sales, crafts, website, Facebook, and literature and finances. Sub-committees meet from time to time to work on projects and events as needed. We also have a small army of supporters and volunteers who help with events and fundraising, without whom nothing would be possible.
We also have a Board of Directors and officers as required by our 501(c)(3) status.
Why a Sister City? by the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
Strategies for Rafah by the Municipal Council of the City of Rafah
Rafah – A Unique City
Rafah Statistics from the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
Madison City Council
Sister City Debate
Contact the Mayor
Contact your Alder
Chronology of Activities A history of the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project