By Rauf Maltas
SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA) - Students of two middle schools in Turkey’s southeast are selling fruit to raise relief funds for people of Gaza.
In a joint project launched by provincial school officials and the Istanbul-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), children in Sanliurfa are setting aside their recess breaks to raise funds for residents of the Palestinian enclave.
Behcet Atilla, IHH’s regional coordinator of southeast Anatolia, told reporters the project’s goals include raising funds for Gaza as well as raising awareness on the predicament of the enclave among the schoolchildren.
"I bought this apple to help Gaza. May Allah help them. I think my help benefits them, even if it is only one apple," said fifth-grade student Yusuf Cakmak.
According to reports, some 80 percent of the people in Gaza rely on international aid to survive, while 40 percent live under the poverty line.
Israel first imposed its blockade on Gaza in 2006 after Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which supports armed resistance to Israel, swept Palestinian legislative polls.
The following year, Israel ratcheted up its blockade after Hamas seized the entire strip -- which it still governs today -- from rival Palestinian faction Fatah.
Still in effect, the blockade has crippled Gaza’s economy and deprived the strip’s more than two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.