The Holy Land: Cradle of Faith, And of Dignity
Nearly 80% of Gaza’s population receives some form of social assistance and 40% live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.
By UN estimates, over 1 million people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and 1.3 million refugees, non-refugees and internally displaced in Gaza require urgent humanitarian support.
Perhaps the most powerful figure: over 50% of West Bank and Gaza residents are under the age of 18, and nearly two-thirds are under the age of 24.
IOCC has been active in the Holy Land since 1997, touching more than 20% of Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza residents’ lives directly and indirectly through programs and collaborations with local hospitals, schools, and other service providers to improve the residents’ quality of life.
We work with partners in the local Orthodox Church, ACT Alliance and Japanese partner including Peace Winds Japan, through Japan Platform and other local and international groups to address both immediate humanitarian needs and to foster sustainable, incremental development.
Our programs aim to improve access to investment, job opportunities, women empowerment and education for aspiring small-business owners, and access to food sources for all residents, in order to help them help themselves and contribute to greater prosperity in the long-term.
Currently, we are proud to work on a number of initiatives seeking to improve:
How You Help
The Need: With 43% youth unemployment according to the World Bank, Gaza has the world’s highest number of young adults willing, but not able, to contribute to their society’s advancement through gainful work. This percentage will only increase as the region’s youth bulge expands.
Our Response: IOCC’s Short-Term Job Opportunities Project for Gaza Youth matches 18-24 year-olds with work at local organizations, where they earn income and hone their professional skills through on-the-job learning. In turn, these organizations have greater ability to deliver services, creating a web of benefits that touches the lives of all involved. Since the program began in November 2015, approximately 1000 recent graduates have been employed at 30 local organizations.
The Need: Agriculture has traditionally played an important economic and cultural role in the lives of the Palestinian people. In modern times, the UN estimates that agriculture contributes to only 6% of GDP, and though an estimated 300,000 farmers work on their families’ farms, their efforts go unpaid due to the weak economy.
Our Response: Through IOCC, more than 1,410 households (about 11,000 family members) in Gaza receive agricultural supplies and training to grow family gardens, or livestock training to provide food and marketable produce and farm products.
The Need: Women-Headed households in the West Bank and Gaza, as is the case elsewhere around the world, often fall into a poverty trap given that there is one income, and one person, to provide for, educate, and protect herself and her children in an already-volatile context.
Our Response: IOCC is directly supporting a program benefiting 75 vulnerable women-headed households who rely on agriculture for sustenance. These women are trained in farming and marketing techniques to improve their sales and incomes, allowing their families to also benefit.
The Need: Given the close quarters in which the people of Gaza (where two million people live in a space that is roughly the size of Detroit, Michigan) and the West Bank live, education about sanitation and hygiene is critical to curbing the spread of disease.
Our Response: IOCC is furnishing water catchments (tanks that go into the ground to collect rain and run-off water) to benefit farmers and to provide neighbor families with a reliable source of this most basic and precious necessity.
The Need: The frequent exposure to conflict related violence in Gaza is having a devastating impact on the psychosocial well-being of children, adolescents and families. This has impacted the coping mechanisms and resilience of children, adolescents and their caregivers, leading to feelings of fear and frustration among the community at large, as well as increased levels of violence at home, in school, and in the community, hindering the enjoyment of children’s rights and preventing their normal and positive development.
Our Response: Through IOCC’s wide network of partner Community-based Organizations (CBOs) and community centres, IOCC provides a range of structured psychosocial support activities targeting children, adolescents and their parents living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods for enabling children and adolescents to cope with the deteriorating conditions characterized by high levels of violence and economic decline.
Omar’s family has been farmers of olives, dates and citrus fruits for generations. Over recent years, the local water supply began to dry up. He was forced to watch his water-starved trees wither away, making it impossible for Omar to support his wife and four children. Learn how your donations to IOCC help Omar and other farmers.