An online raffle and musical extravaganza held on Sunday 22nd November raised over £1,000 for Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). The Hastings & Rye Palestine Solidarity Campaign (HRPSC) organised the online event with the help of local businesses in Hastings and Rye who generously donated impressive prizes such as meals out, cinema visits, glamping stays, home décor and even a cocktail making lesson (See Issue 164 Big Prizes at Palestinian aid raffle).

On Sunday, during the live draw, the audience was treated to a Bach recital by cellist Tibah Saad from the Galilee, a traditional Palestinian folk song from Najlaa Hmeed in Gaza, and even a theatre performance by four children in Gaza.

HRPSC Chair, Katy Colley, said the evening went better than they could possibly have imagined: “We realise this is not an easy time to be asking for donations, but the people of Hastings and Rye responded so generously,” she said. 

“We had incredible prizes donated by local businesses and sold hundreds of raffle tickets on the night, making our grand total an impressive £1,039. And thanks to the Hands Up Project which organised the remote theatre performance and Palmusic, which provided the musicians; it was a really uplifting and inspiring evening. We’d like to thank everyone who supported the event and contributed towards a great humanitarian cause.”

MAP provides immediate medical aid to Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees, and right now in Gaza their teams are on the ground providing vital medical supplies to support coronavirus infection control and help medics treat patients. But as recent reports have shown, the rapid rise in rates of Covid-19 means that the Gazan health system is likely to be overwhelmed in days.

Gaza’s two million inhabitants live under an illegal air, land and sea blockade, which has led to profound levels of poverty and a health and sanitation system already on the brink of collapse. Now health services are stretched to breaking point.

MAP Community Fundraiser Zahra Yassine, who gave a speech on the night about the organisation’s work, expressed her gratitude for the generosity of the people of Hastings and Rye towards the event: “It was a great night’s entertainment and I was humbled by the powerful performances of the children and the musicians.” 

She went on to say that the event demonstrated how “great things are possible even in lockdown” and how “we all have so much to gain from sharing our culture and experiences with one another.”

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