By Heather Yamour
(with photos) WASHINGTON, Dec 24 (KUNA) -- The American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) organization late Friday said it was "absolutely thrilled and grateful" to receive a USD one million dollar donation from the Kuwaiti government to provide nutritional support to children in Gaza. The non-profit relief and development agency said that the substantial donation would provide vitamin-fortified milk and high-energy biscuits to over 17,000 pre-schoolers in Gaza, where the World Health Organization statistics show nearly four out of ten children under five suffer from anemia and malnutrition. "This is something that's near to our hearts and I think to everyone in the State of Kuwait that we look upon innocent children and hope that they have the basics of life. This is one of the things we're trying to provide. This offers them a safety net so that the ravages of anemia and stunting are not something they have to live with day after day," Bill Corcoran, President of ANERA told KUNA in an interview. During a visit to ANERA's Washington headquarters, Kuwait's Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah told KUNA that this is the second donation from Kuwait to fund ANERA's work with children in Gaza.
He added that Kuwait exerts many efforts to support the Palestinian people throughout the years, which reflect the deep Kuwaiti -Palestinian "distinctive and historic" relations.
He affirmed that the Palestinian issue is among the priorities of the Kuwaiti leadership, stressing the support of the Kuwaiti people to the Palestinians on all levels.
The Ambassador stressed that this donation comes to provide the simplest living requirements for the Gaza children in light of the "difficult political, economic and living conditions" there.
The Kuwaiti Government had also donated in March 2010 USD one million to fund ANERA's Milk for Preschoolers program with children in Gaza. "This generous gift strengthens ANERA's capacity to care for Palestinian children at their most vulnerable age," said former U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait and ANERA board chairman Edward Gnehm, telling KUNA ,"This really touches children and it touches the hearts of people. They do feel neglected, they do feel ignored by the world and this is a very special way to reach out to them. We are very much a part of their lives and we are happy to be partners with Kuwait." ANERA said the USD one million donation is a "valued endorsement of ANERA's ability to deliver with the highest standards of accountability and responsibility." For more than 40 years ANERA has been a leading provider of development, health, education and employment programs to Palestinian communities and impoverished families through-out the Middle East. In 2011, the relief and development agency delivered more than USD 65 million of programs to the people of the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan. This was up from the USD 51 million raised in 2010. (end) hy.nfm KUNA 240922 Dec 11NNNN