Raising Funds to Help a Family of 10 Exit Gaza

Thousands of Palestinian families are looking to evacuate into Egypt as the Israeli military has forced over a million civilians to the edge of the Gaza Strip and vowed to center its impending attacks on the city of Rafah. Various fundraising efforts to help families pay exorbitant bribes to Egyptian authorities in order to cross the border and other relocation expenses have emerged in the last few weeks, including one for Samah Ramadan, a graphic designer and program manager at a Gazan tech-education firm.

Ramadan and her husband are looking to leave Gaza with both of their mothers and their six daughters, Aya, Farah, Ghadeer, Raghad, Nesma, and Sondos. Like many with large families, Ramadan faces over $80,000 in expenses to facilitate her family’s departure from Gaza after their apartment was reduced to rubble by an Israeli airstrike. Ramadan’s brother and father were killed in a similar bombing of her father’s apartment, which left them buried under the debris.

Repeatedly evacuated further and further south, Ramadan finally made the decision to move to Egypt after a bomb near the family’s sheltering site recently killed 26 civilians, and in light of the medical needs of several family members.

Ramadan worked at Gaza Sky Geeks (GSG), a technology innovation and education firm empowering Palestinians to earn a freelance virtual income through training and professional development, where she met her former coworker Anam Raheem, a US citizen who lived in Gaza and worked at the firm for over four years. Raheem connected Ramadan’s GoFundMe with Carmen Hermo, an art worker in New York City who has since maintained constant contact with Ramadan and said she was able to match up to $3,000 in donations.

Speaking to Hyperallergic, Hermo expressed gratitude for Raheem’s efforts and explained that “watching so much death, destruction, and dispossession from our phones has been harrowing, to say the least.”

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Three of the six sisters of the Ramadan family

Raheem publicized the loss and suffering of her former colleagues last November and has been finding ways to support them since October 7. After an influx of requests to share GoFundMes from GSG employees and connections throughout Gaza, Raheem tapped into her personal network to assign fundraisers to those like Hermo who volunteered to champion them in order to ensure each family was afforded some level of unique visibility for their situation.

“I think there’s a very palpable hunger to be doing something for Gaza, something that feels very direct,” Raheem told Hyperallergic in an interview. “People are expressing that they can post on Instagram, go to protests, and so on but it feels repetitive and disconnected. Putting my friends here in touch with my contacts in Gaza goes beyond activism — it’s helping people understand that Gaza is more than its suffering and its destruction and that Palestinians are not just a monolith of victims, and making a human-to-human connection that embeds one into history as it’s made.”

Hermo underscored Raheem’s message about seeing Palestinians beyond their suffering, telling Hyperallergic that “the casualties and families torn apart aren’t just numbers, but people with full lives and stories.”

“Getting to know Samah and her family, we have built a small but powerful bridge of connection: Her daughters love to flash a peace sign in pictures, too, and her youngest daughter, Sondos, loves making art,” Hermo continued.

Raheem noted that anyone can donate directly to a collective fundraiser to assist GSG employees with evacuation, or reach out to her on Instagram at @rhm.nm in order to be connected with a Palestinian family and champion their specific fundraising efforts.

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