Hastings Friends of Al-Mawasi, Gaza

Building friendship links with Palestine

An article in the Hastings Online Times gives a useful background to the campaign to twin Hastings with Al-Mawasi. Article here.

Goat Ledge Does Gaza!

What a great day at the Goat Ledge. Great company, great food. Celebrating the developing links between Hastings and the Palestinian coastal town of Al-Mawasi in Gaza. Thanks to Frank Moon (oud, violin, flute, percussion), Fatima for writing people's names in Arabic and doing henna tattoos, and the crew at Goat Ledge for their great hospitality.

We had a steady stream of visitors during the day including Deputy Mayor Councillor Margi O'Callaghan and Councillors Nigel Sinden and Maya Evans. Here's a short video of the day.                                                          June 2022


 Our fundraising has helped the Al-Mawasi community centre to get a permanent internet connection installed (and paid for one year), and a new laptop and display screen for their classes and training.

We wish the members of the Resilience Committee every success in their wonderful efforts to support local people.

April 2022: Since our first twinning meeting in October last year we have been getting to know people in Al-Mawasi through our weekly English lessons and shared photos and videos. We have met the inspiring organisers who run the community centre that local people built for themselves; we've met fishermen, nurses and bloggers, and students and graduates who are aspiring to be engineers and teachers; we've met parents and seen their children's art work and singing; we've seen pictures of their fishing boats and football teams and children's fun days.

Short video of our fundraiser.
We organised a fundraising walk and cycle last month which got an amazingly warm reception from people in Hastings as we handed out leaflets and collected money on the route. That event raised £1490.15 for the Al-Mawasi community centre, which they hope to use to install an internet connection and buy computer equipment.

We hope more people from Hastings will be able to join our twinning project to offer direct support and solidarity to this community which literally lives under siege. Most of the young people we talk to in Al-Mawasi have never left Gaza since a blockade was imposed 15 years ago. Everything and everyone coming in or out of this small area must get special Israeli permission which causes extreme hardship.

Twinning can involve any kind of link between our town and theirs - we hope some day we can visit each other in person but for now we can arrange for people to connect by email or zoom or on social media.

If you would like to befriend a person or a family in Al-Mawasi, or make a link between your school, community group, workplace, faith group, sports club, or business, and a similar group in Al-Mawasi, then please get in touch to find out more.

We also need more volunteers to teach English, which can involve teaching a group of students in an online lesson, or can simply involve matching a volunteer here with one or two students to arrange regular conversations which give them a chance to practice their English. English can be a gateway to education and job opportunities for people in Al-Mawasi so this is a really valuable gift that anyone can offer.

As Palestine is in the news again right now, we are getting a glimpse of the violence and brutality that is part of life under Israeli occupation. And behind the headlines millions of Palestinians are struggling to live their lives in these conditions, where working and studying and raising families is an everyday act of resistance to that repression. Building friendships, and showing they are not forgotten by the rest of the world, is one way of strengthening their will to continue to resist. Please join us in becoming a friend of Al-Mawasi.

Fundraising Walk & Cycle      Saturday 26 March

Solidarity Walk - Starting at Glyne Gap TN40 2JU 12 noon

Solidarity Cycle - 3 Stages starting from Lewes / Eastbourne / Bexhill
Finishing at 2pm The Stade, Hastings Old Town

We will be taking part in a fundraising cycle and walk to the Stade in Hastings old Town. We are raising money for the Safe Space community centre in Al-Mawasi in Gaza run by the local Committee for Enhancement of Community Resilience.

Walkers will start from Glyne Gap at 12noon and walk 4.5 miles to the Stade for 2pm - this is the distance those on the outskirts of Al-Mawasi have to walk to reach the 'Safe Space' community centre to access the community clinics and classes that take place there.

Cyclists will start at Lewes and cycle 40 miles via Eastbourne and Bexhill to the Stade - 40 miles is the length of the wall which Israel have built surrounding Gaza, blockading people in Al-Mawasi, and everywhere else in Gaza, from getting out or from getting basic supplies in.

We will walk and cycle in Palestinian colours to show our solidarity and we'll try to raise awareness as well as raising money by handing out leaflets along the route.

Sign up to walk or cycle however far you able - and download a sponsorship form to collect money from friends and family for your efforts!

If you can't take part but want to support, you can also please make a donation using the button above.

'Safe Space' community centre

The Resilience Committee was set up in 2019 when local people got together and built their own safe space community centre to try to create better services and support for their own community.

This is a short video message from our friends in Al-Mawasi. The chair of the committee shows us around the centre. Video here.

Hastings-Gaza Language Link

We have started online classes and conversations with students of all ages in Al-Mawasi who are learning English. If you want to find a way to offer practical solidarity and build friendship links with people in Gaza then why not volunteer to get involved?

It is 17 years since Israel began its blockade of Gaza, stopping people and goods from getting in or out, and turning Gaza into an open air prison for 2 million Palestinians. The internet provides a lifeline to connect to the rest of the world but the electricity supply is unreliable and all kinds of basic equipment are restricted.

We are raising money to buy laptops and other equipment for the 'Safe Space' Community Centre in Al-Mawasi, to provide more opportunities for education and entertainment as well as international friendship and solidarity. All donations will go to the 'Committee for Enhancement of Community Resilience in Al-Mawasi.'
Hastings Friends of Al-Mawasi

A group called 'Hastings Friends of Al-Mawasi' has been set up to develop links between Hastings and the Palestinian town of Al-Mawasi in Gaza.

We held an online meeting in October 2021 where members of the Resilience Committee in Al-Mawasi gave us a presentation about the history of their region and about how they have organised to survive under Israeli occupation, such as building their own community centre for vital education, training and medical services.

The video of that meeting is available here.

Petition to call on Hastings Borough Council to formally twin Hastings with Al-Mawasi

We are now looking to organise fundraising events to support these community projects. We have also launched a petition to call on Hastings Borough Council to formally twin Hastings with Al-Mawasi which would be a strong public message of solidarity with this embattled community, as well as helping us develop more cultural, business and educational links between our two towns. Sign and share the petition here.

If you would like to get involved in twinning activities such as fundraising, skill sharing, or taking part in exchange visits, please get in touch by email hastingsalmawasi@gmail.com or go to our facebook page.