18th October 2009
Launch of Gloucester2Gaza II
Friday 16th October saw the launch of the Gloucester communities' campaign to hopefully send 2 or maybe more ambulances by road to Gaza. Campaign organisers hope that the vehicles will leave from London on December 5th 2009 with the main Viva Palestina convoy. 7 volunteers in 3 vehicles drove to Gaza in the first historic convoy earlier this year. This time, new volunteers have been recruited and are being prepared with the support of the different communities in the area. A special cake was baked by a volunteers, decorated with the flags of all the countries that the convoy will travel through. To keep up to date with the latest developments in Gloucester
contact Gulam on 07816655529 or Farouk on 0777 9222570
Shake and Bake for Gaza
The Gloster2Gaza team are following up their convoy visit with an idea to support a Women's Bread Making Oven in Gaza which will cost approximately £3,500. One of the simple but very popular ideas being used to raise the money is to sell fruit smoothies, shakes and home-made cakes each week at various community venues. Above is a picture of Farouk Shaikh & Abid Motara, the Shakes & Cakes team, in action outside the Friendship Cafe youth and community centre. One convoy member who happens to be a beekeeper also donated his local honey, sales of which go towards the Bread Oven Project.
Call Farouk Shaikh for more details: 07957545125
Gloucester to Gaza
Over 200 people squeezed into The Friendship Café in Gloucester to welcome back the ‘Magnificent 7' from their epic and historic trip to Gaza . The audience consisted of family, friends, local councillors, local MP Parmjit Dhanda and people from the local and neighbouring communities. As they walked in the people were welcomed with snacks and drinks. It was 7.15pm and our guests of honours still had not turned up. They were making their way back from the Birmingham reunion. But as the clock struck 7.30, 5 of the 7 were seated at the front, ready to relive and retell their journey.
The presentation started with a brief introduction about the trip including how ‘Viva Palestina' was born. Then Ismail Rhyman, our chief organiser explained how Gloucester got involved into this piece of history. The treasurer for The Friendship Café, Junaid Ghanti , was next on he explained how the trip was funded. Gloucester raised, in just over two weeks, a massive £44, 000. This was a symbol of the generosity of the people of Gloucester . We then had a few words from our local MP Parmjit Dhanda, who interrupted his paternity leave to express his appreciation and gratitude. By now the two remaining guests had joined their travel colleagues at the front. They were ALL introduced to the audience who in turn gave them a well deserved standing ovation.
The Emir (leader) of the Gloucester group, Farouq Ginwalla, then enlightened the listeners with the tale of Gloucester2Gaza. He described the in detail the ups and downs of the journey, the people they met on the way, the problems with certain authorities and finally telling us all how they reached the Promised Land. As the presentation was being given, photos taken by the drivers were shown on a big screen. Every picture told its own story. Happiness & sorrow, devastation & destruction, friendship & unity.
After Farouq each member of the Gloucester convoy were asked to share a thought with the audience, about their experience. Each (bar one – obviously overwhelmed by the occasion) described what the trip meant to them and how it affected them. Each one got a generous round of applause.
The presentation was concluded by asking the audience “What can we do?” The presenter encouraged the audience to raise the awareness of the atrocities being committed in Gaza and also to get involved with local, national and international organisations in helping the people of Palestine . He (the presenter) also asked to continue donating money to recognised charities such as UWT and Interpal. The evening was then concluded with a short Q&A session.
The only thing left to do was to thank the 7 drivers (in no particular order) Farook Shaikh, Abdur Rehman Motara, Saleh Ahmed, Ismail Ali, Ibraheem Musaji, Irfan Ahmed and Farouq Ginwalla for leaving their family, friends, and work commitments to travel 5000 miles to deliver aid to our brothers and sisters in Gaza. We pray that Allah (SWT) reward them in this life and the next. Ameen.
They truly are Gloucester 's Magnificent Seven!
Editor (Presenter for the evening)
Café News – Official newsletter of The Friendship Cafe
Gaza - with Love and Solidarity
Farouq driving our flagship
number one -- Farouq and Ismail Ali
Van number two - Irfan, Ibrahim and Saleh
Van number three - see I told you there was three. -- Abby and Farook
(and temporary guest...)
of our drivers - Islmail Ali, Saleh and Farook
Benn was kind enough to pose for a picture with us.