By Nada Deyaa
Watching the effects of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza on television made Hamdy Abo-Humer feel helpless. So when the Egyptian government opened the Rafah crossing and began welcoming injured Palestinians into local hospitals, he and a group of friends decided to launch a programme to help the wounded and make them feel at home.
Since then, the initiative, called “We are all Human”, has arranged more than 17 hospital visits and helped three severely injured patients to travel to Germany for further care, in coordination with the Palestinian Embassy.
“We felt a responsibility to show the world that not all Egyptians act the same way as the government,” said Abo-Humer, who criticised the Egyptian government for failing to fully open the Rafah crossing and for preventing aid convoys from crossing into Gaza.
“At the same time, we felt that those homeless people are in need of a new home now.”
More than 10,000 Palestinians and 700 Israelis were injured during the 50-day conflict. About 150 Palestinians have crossed the border seeking treatment in Egyptian hospitals, according to Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights.
“We are all Human” welcomed the wounded to Egypt, and helped them to obtain necessary medicines that are often hard to find in poor, governmental pharmacies.
The group is also collecting donations to provide allowances for family members of the wounded.
“Some of the injured are the money providers for their families,” Abo-Humer said. Without help, their families “would literally starve”.
The visits don’t only benefit Palestinians, but also Egyptians.
“You learn the meaning of pain and absolute strength when you talk to these people,” said Salma Belal, an architect and one of the volunteers.