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Former UCT student makes Gaza appeal

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A former PHD student in Cell Biology at the University of Cape Town (UCT) has made an impassioned plea to former colleagues and students at the UCT medical school, in an attempt to raise funds for much needed supplies in the conflict hit Gaza Strip. Saeb Hussein Aliwaini, a Palestinian native who is currently a professor at the University of Gaza, is seeking to assist those families who have been affected most by the more than month long Israeli offensive in the region.

He has joined forces with the Birth and Life Foundation to try and buy supplies from private and medical drug stores in Gaza city, which will go towards the displaced families in various makeshift shelters. Amongst the necessities they are aiming to purchase are food baskets, mattresses, water tanks, electrical generators for the schools and medical centres, and baby milk powder. Funds will also be provided to the local hospitals and medical centre to meet their requirements as well.

In an email sent to over 20 of his former colleagues and friends at the UCT medical school, Aliwaini highlighted the awful conditions experienced by refugees in Gaza. He noted that more than 400 000 people were now classified as displaced, residing in and around UN schools which were being used as shelters.

“When you enter any school in Gaza, you will see every 20 women and child live in a class, and men have to sleep in the school-yards because there’s not enough classes. UNRWA provides these families with some food and water, but they don’t have anything more,” read the email.

A research scientist in the Cell Biology sector, Dr. Robea Ballo said local students would take up the call for funds, and they would all be making donations to the cause as a collective.

“We’ve decided to allocate one person to help us do this as a group. So each one of us will donate a certain amount of money, whatever we can afford, and it will then go as a lump sum to Saeb,” she said.

The appeal has been expanded from the original recipients of the email, with Ballo noting that each member of the group had forwarded the email to their own family, friends, and acquaintances. Ballo said they were not opposed to the appeal expanded into the public sphere as well.

“Obviously people can either come back to us and say that they’d like to be apart of what we are doing, or they can go their own route using the banking details that he has provided,” she said.

Ballo said the decision to take up the call was partly motivated by their relationship with Aliwaini, and partly because of how emotionally affected by the crisis that was unfolding in Gaza.

“We are all so aware about what is happening, and we feel sympathy for the people of Gaza. We want to help in any small way that we can,” she admitted.

Due to the siege on Gaza, all funds towards relief groups in the region have been barred. The appeal is being run through Aliwaini’s personal bank account, who will provide a receipt for all supplies bought using the donated funds.

If you would like to make a contribution to the appeal, you may make donations to the following bank account:

Bank: Arab Islamic Bank
Gaza Branch

Account Details: Saeb Hussein Aliwaini
IBAN: PS39AISB020221010102115746001. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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