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Gaza Women Inspire the World with their unparalleled Strength in Responding to Humanitarian Catastrophe in Gaza

Image of Walaa’ during her voluntary work in shelters to draw smile on faces of children during military escalation against Gaza 2023/2024


Gaza Strip - Being a female young woman in the context of war and military escalation as Gaza is never easy, it is unimaginable. On International Women's Day, we celebrate the resilience, strength, and courage of women as Walaa’ who continues working as pillars of support and agents of changes despite challenges she faces.  Walaa Abd Al-Bari is a young female volunteer and activist who is engaged in supporting her people under catastrophic conditions resulting from intensifying violence in the occupied Palestinian territory(oPt) since  7 October 2023 and declaring war by Israel and imposing a “total siege” on the already blockaded Gaza Strip. Since then, the supply of water, food and fuel  were prevented from entering Gaza. Continuous intense Israeli bombardment causes killing of  civilians and 70% of those casualties are children and women, displacing more than 1.9 million people, including what the UN estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls and destruction of more than 70% of Gaza’s infrastructure. 

The scale and severity of the humanitarian catastrophe currently unfolding is horrifying impacting young people in Gaza as other groups including women, elderly, children’s medical teams and journalists. ActionAid is deeply concerned about the severe toll the war in Gaza is taking on the wellbeing of an entire generation.  Young Palestinian people have permanently been affected by Israeli illegal policies of arrest, home demolition, repeated wars in Gaza, restrictions on movement and social media, limited job opportunities and limited democratic and civil spaces for their political and community activism and participation. It is important in context of wars to hear voices of young people who are rarely heard.

Since the beginning of the War against Gaza, young people and young people-led organizations have been first responders, rapidly mobilizing themselves and engaging in the humanitarian response in Gaza.  Young people have the power to react very fast. They are leading the response and supporting internally displaced people, helping medical staff, displaced children, rescue teams with voluntary work, social and psychological assistance, educational support and leisure activities for children.

Young female volunteers continue works as pillars of support and agents of changes despite challenges they face. Walaa’ Abed Al Bari is a young woman volunteer who was displaced multiple times in Gaza since 7th October 2023. Walaa’ is a member of  the humanitarian action youth group which  was established by ActionAid Palestine to enhance and support the capacities of youth in responding and preparedness for disasters, emergencies and new shocks by providing them with the required skills and knowledge. Amid these conditions, Walaa’ has been active in serving internally displaced people (IDP) and drawing smile of the faces of children in UN shelters and displacement camps in the places that she and her family were displaced to. The IDPs experience catastrophic conditions and many of them were displaced multiple in search of safety. Rafah hosts now 1.9 million IDP which is the most densely populated camp on the earth with unsuitable infrastructure with is full of hundreds of tents popping up every day, with almost no ground left uncovered with risk of famine especially in the north of Gaza. Famine is spreading as a result of limited humanitarian assistance allowed to Gaza and destruction of infrastructure of food system in Gaza including fishing boats and agricultural lands.  

Walaa works all the time to give a hand to displaced people. She organized campaigns to collect donations to buy food, clothes and winter items to be distributed to displaced people. Walaa’ starts her day by going to shelters to assess the needs of DPs and tries to mobilize funds to help them. Through her community activism and voluntary work, Walaa’ tries to secure donations for IDPs and purchase some basic items for them. She also organizes different recreational activities for children to mitigate impact of war on their wellbeing and psychological conditions. Walaa’ also works as medical educator with medical missions working in Gaza. 

Walaa’ demonstrates unparalleled strength in responding to humanitarian catastrophe her people and country suffer from despite unimaginable pain, loss, relentless bombing, acute shortage of basic necessities like water, food and medicine. Walaa’ s determination and unwavering spirit will inspire the world.  

Walaa’ says: “my life has changed since the beginning of the war as other hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza. We had been displaced multiple times. We were displaced from north to the south to seek refuge and find a safe place. I had lost my home, friends, work and everything. We pass through catastrophic conditions everything, but these conditions motivate me to continue my volunteerism and initiatives for supporting my people and draw the smile on the face of our children and elderly people with all possible means. It is important to help and support each other and find hope amid this darkness and Arab and international silence and complicity because people in Gaza who are not killed with bombing, they will die with starvation, coldness, fear”.

ActionAid supports Palestinian young people through its Global Platforms which is ActionAid’s network for youth-led activism, through which we support movements, youth networks, organizations and individuals who promote the role of young people in progressive social, political and economic change around the world. When it comes to humanitarian crises, our Humanitarian Signature is paramount. It sets out the pillars of ActionAid’s way of working in humanitarian response - focuses on shifting power, accountability to affected populations, and women’s and young people’s leadership. 

ActionAid seeks to support youth through cooperation with our partners. We stress the importance of necessity to provide youth with opportunities to play leading roles. Young Palestinians must be recognized as leaders and have access and influence in decision-making processes, especially those that affect them directly. In summary, work for young people, with young people. 

 Background Information

ActionAid in Palestine (AAP) is a part of global federation working for social justice and gender equality and eradicate poverty in more than 45 countries around the world. AAP started its work in Palestine in 2007 to strengthen the resilience of Palestinian People as ActionAid believes that they should enjoy their rights to freedom, justice and self-determination. AAP implements a number of programs through its engagement with communities and women and youth groups seeking to empower them and enhance their influential civil and political participation to understand their rights and undertake collective activism to address the protracted rights violations resulting from the prolonged occupation of Palestine. AAP works simultaneously to enhance their leadership capacity and knowledge to practice their citizenship in holding authorities and other duty bearers to account.

For more information, please contact

Riham Jafari

Coordinator of Advocacy and Communication in Palestine


+972 (0) 595242890


+972 (0) (2) 22 13 137