The Med-Mobil project celebrates a Cross Cultural Event in the Strip to improve the mobility and exchanges programs in the Mediterranean
Pictures and texts
By Ángeles Lucas. Gaza
- The Mediterranean Sea, washed by a score of countries with a common identity, is a historical witness of exchange, languages and commerce between its shores. To create closer ties within people in the XXI has born the Mobility and Cultural Exchange program Med-mobil, funded by the European Union. The aim is to create a framework of cooperation to put students, professionals and young entrepreneurs in contact around the Mediterranean area and to enhance cultural, social and economic cohesion. Here an image taken in Gaza beach.
- To achieve these aims, one of the Cross Cultural Events has been celebrated in Gaza (Palestine) from 14th to 16th June. Other similar events were celebrated in Jordan and more mobilities to come in Spain, Lebanon, Palestine (West Bank) and Italy. Here a man contemplates the horizon in Gaza.
- The University College of Applied Sciences (UCAS) has coordinated the programme in the Strip under the lema “Life in Gaza”, where a group of ten Europeans from Spain, Italy and Greece travelled to Gaza to participate in this event.
- “We would love to show that here we live everyday being resilient, improving as much as we are able to reach with our capacities and limited resources and trying to be happy every day,” says Hani H. Qusa, International Relations Coordinator in UCAS. “Actually, my name means happiness so, I’m always smiling,” says nicely Qusa to the group.
- People swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, drinking tea on the shore, eating, fishing in boats, selling in the markets, studying at the universities, repairing cars, flying kites, walking around… Are some frames of a regular day in Gaza, were 1.8 million people live in 365 squares kilometres, with 60% of unemployment, and under a siege or embargo ruling since 2007 by the Israelis.
- The mobility office in UCAS works to find opportunities to study abroad for students and professors. Something which is really complicated on the Strip. The Egypt border Rafah is only open three days every three months, and to cross through the Israeli Erez Cross Point, (being Gazan), you should comply some hard requirements. Such as trader or patient profile or be greater than 35, married, with almost a children, and having a good work in Gaza. Entering in the region is mainly allowed to diplomatics, journalists and cooperation workers. Here Gaza beach from a lighthouse.
- “We work on exchange initiatives and cooperation projects, and we are strongly interested in creating links with Palestine. Focusing our activities in promoting the mobility and the relations between the Mediterranean countries”, explains Pablo Morales, the Med-Mobil project manager and coordinator of International Projects in the Chamber of Commerce in Seville.
- New technologies, mobile applications, engineering… are one of the biggest challenges for the palestinians research departments. It is one of the reasons to crave for exchanges with international entities and get the possibility to teach their ideas abroad and at the same time learn from new researches. “Here it´s a mobile app very useful for foreigners to communicate in modern standard arabic through images and situations in the daily life. It´s very useful”, says one the students who has created an mobile app in the UCAS.
- Here women celebrate their final degree of Interior Design in UCAS. “We study what we want, but the problem comes later. When you have to raise your children. You work double if you have the chance to get a job,” says one of the female students in a Gaza university.
- In june 2015, one year after the war with the Israelis, when almost 1.200 Gazaties died and 11.000 were injured, the shadows are alive inside the people, in the streets, houses, hospitals, and universities.
- “We try to recover as better as we can, and we do it efficiently,” says Qusa. The main road in Gaza, called Salahuddin, which crosses throught the Strip from south to north, is fully clean and passable one year after the war, and also El Rasheed St, the road in the seaside, and other narrow alleys. Here a Gaza City view.
- Here was allocated the International Relations Office in UCAS, but some missiles completely destroyed it. Now, it´s renewed by foreign aid funds, but just one meter from this office, the walls in the corridors still showing the powder impacts and windows glasses are broken. The ruins surrounds the students and the classrooms.
- They need a bigger budget to keep rebuilding the university after the last war. Here the in the Financial and Business Department, piles of rubbles can’t be removed yet. Also it’s hard to get cement and construction materials due to the siege.
- Detail of the switches melted because of the explosions in the Financial and Business department in UCAS.
- The Hospitals are one of the key places to see how they keep living with the scarce resources available, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health data: 136 medications, 321 items and 394 laboratory disposables are at zero stock. “Gaza people is full of life and we really follow our dreams, but they have lost a lot of life, hundreds of families are completely destroyed and we can’t respond to the demand in the hospital. We don’t have enough antibiotics, or even gloves to perform surgery on patients,” says the doctor Sobhi Skaik, medical director in Shifa Hospital.
- Due to 2014 offensive, 17 hospitals and 26 clinics were partially damaged and two clinics completely destroyed, according to Health data. Electricity cuts are considered a huge problem, hospitals and clinics could be from 8 to 12 hours a day out of power, but also the houses and the rest of the buildings in the streets.
- Gaza also has clean water and fuel supplies problems.
- “After the war we received more children with psychological problems, with difficulties of hearing, stutters… Here we help them, although sometimes it’s difficult for the children to come here, because they don´t have enough money for the transportation,” says al R. Elwawi, an specialist from the Rehabilitation Center managed by UCAS.
- In the Health System 5,238 employees are working without salaries since june 2014, and the public education system suffers the same struggles, so the foreign aid projects or alliances with some internacional entities are basic to support the professionals to keep teaching during the academic year. According to International Amnesty data, four out of five citizens in Gaza depend from humanitarian aid.
- “One of our biggest problems is that we can’t export anything and it’s complicated to create industry and economy”, says Nasser El Helou, member of the board from the Chamber of Commerce in Gaza. According to their statistics, before the blockade, Gaza exports 9.000 trucks in 2007, but in 2014 almost none. “It´s also an inconvenience for the fishing line”, we just can fish in six miles from the coast”, ensures a member of the chamber of commerce.
- The italian compound, one of the tallest buildings in Gaza. Used as a resident building and a maill in the first floors.
- Here a group of men are in a boat in Gaza Port. Where most of the docks have been constructed using rubble from previous wars in the sea. They fish during day and night. “If we could export and create industry, we could recover Gaza quickly. Our fight is for life, not for war”, says El Helou.
- “We would love to show our culture abroad. Always with peace and showing our soul,” wishes one traditional palestinian music dancer in a hotel in Gaza.
- People in Gaza beach.
- “As the people here has suffered, they wish to enjoy, living”, concludes doctor Sobhi Skaik. Resilience, describing it as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, is demonstrable in Gaza.
Med-Mobil Intends to create a framework of cooperation aiming to facilitate the exchange of students, professionals and young entrepreneurs in the Mediterranean area by supporting future regulations and improving and consolidating existing programmes and initiatives.
The final aim is to contribute to a sustainable and harmonious cooperation process and promote dialogue in the Mediterranean Sea Basin by supporting and improving mobility, exchanges, training and professionalism of young people, facilitating cultural, social and economic exchange.