The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

Samira Project Children’s Counseling

Gaza Mental Health Foundation

At the request of the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project (MRSCP) has agreed to raise funds for the Samira Project in Rafah.

This project was requested by the Rafah branch of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees. It will provide psycho-social counseling for 150 children with disabilities in Rafah and their families.

The project is scheduled to run for one school year and start in September, so we need to move fast. Out of a total cost of $14,900, all but $4000 has been raised or committed by MECA and the sponsoring group. MRSCP has agreed to raise and contribute the final $4000.

Because of the short time frame for this effort, we have decided to try to raise the funds quickly though our own donations and appeals to you, our strongest supporters. MRSCP has pledged $1000 directly from our treasury, and members of our core group have pledged another $500. We have about $200 in our humanitarian project account that we will also contribute.

This leaves us with a balance of $2300 to raise by September.

PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A PLEDGE TO HELP US WITH THIS PROJECT. Any amount will be appreciated, but a contribution of at least $50 would be really helpful. As always, all contributions to MRSCP are tax-deductible.

If you are able to pledge, please reply to Donna Wallbaum, dwallbaum (at) She will contact you with directions about how to contribute. (You can, if you prefer, send a check made out to MRSCP, marked “Samira Project”, and mailed to MRSCP, P.O. Box 5214, Madison, WI 53705 — but please let Donna know that the check is coming.)

As always, thanks for your support.

Related articles:

  • Samira Counseling Photos
  • A Samira Project Success Story

  • More


    In July and August, 2014, our US tax dollars helped pay for a 50 day Israeli bombardment of Gaza that killed over 2000 people including hundreds of children and severely injured thousands more. Entire families were wiped out, and every child in Gaza knows someone who was killed, injured or made homeless or destitute. This was only the latest in a long string of military attacks by Israel, and the UN estimates that as a result, the number of repeatedly and severely traumatized Gaza children who need psychological support and healing is in the hundreds of thousands.

    The Gaza Strip was already one of the poorest and most densely populated places on earth. As a result of repeated Israeli attacks and the ten-year-long Israeli/Egyptian siege and blockade of Gaza, 80% of the people live under the poverty line and unemployment is around 60%. The educational system is overcrowded, unstable and inconsistent. Public services have been weakened more and more, especially psychosocial support and other programs serving mainly women and children. This situation has been made even worse by the conflict between Fatah and Hamas, which means that public employees like teachers often go unpaid.

    Children have been affected more than others because every aspect of their life, especially the education system, is repeatedly disrupted if not destroyed. Psychologically, the negative impact on children is enormous; nightmares, racing thoughts, nail-biting, panic attacks, uncontrolled urination, violent behavior and hyperactivity are common symptoms.

    The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project (MRSCP) is partnering with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) to fund The Samira Project in Rafah, a city and refugee camp at the southern edge of the Gaza strip. The project, organized by the Rafah branch of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, will employ special education teachers and a social worker to provide 150 economically disadvantaged and learning-disabled children age seven to twelve & their families with a school year’s worth of psychosocial support. There are presently no educational institutions in Rafah City for these children, who face psychological issues without support. As a result, their educational level is very low and their drop-out rate is rising.

    The Samira Project aims to intervene immediately to develop the children’s skills and increase their ability to learn (especially reading, writing and mathematics); to support them psychologically and socially and rebuild their confidence; to implement scientific solutions to learning disabilities and reduce violent and disruptive behavior; to train families to better support their children; and to create job opportunities for qualified professionals in this field. Field trips, a children’s library and activities such as theater, music, art and reading will help the staff to understand the children and create a space for the children to express their feelings.

    Please consider a donation to The Samira Project.

    • $100 will buy art and paper supplies for one month
    • $150 will provide snacks and juice for the children for one month
    • $200 will employ one of six female teachers for one month
    • $300 will pay for a field trip for the students
    • $300 will employ the Project Coordinator or Social Worker for one month
    • $500 will buy a laptop for the project
    • (Smaller amounts will also be appreciated.)

    As always, we thank you for your support as we work to mitigate the results of our nation’s disastrous Middle East foreign policy, and ultimately to change that policy toward one that supports peace with justice, equality and human rights for all.