Why soccer shoes? Given the blockade, the most important thing we could do was provide a way for the community to connect them and begin to recover by holding on to some aspect of normal life. Soccer was the solution the community came up with.
Rebuilding Alliance held a shoe drive in the summer 2009, collecting soccer shoes for children in Gaza. We collected hundreds of shoes and could have collected many more. Everyone wanted to donate! We were able to deliver the soccer uniforms and shoes all the way to Cairo without cost. Cindy and Craig Corrie personally carried the uniforms into Gaza. The shoes however were held by the foreign ministry of Egypt with no chance of making it to Gaza. We had anticipated these kinds of problems and therefore our backup plan was that the children in Egypt could benefit from the soccer shoes. We continued then to search for good ways to bring school supplies and building materials into Gaza. This will keep promoting the trauma resolution of the community as they rebuild after all the demolition that has taken place and continues to take place.
In the spring of 2010, we participated in the Free Gaza flotilla which brought cargo into Gaza, trying to break through the Israeli blockade on the Gaza strip. Due to this blockade, this was a way to try to break through and bring aid to Gaza. Rebuilding Alliance sent school supplies and other materials which did make it into Gaza through the Irish boat. Unfortunately, as part of the negotiation on the UN side, the UN would not guarantee that the material would go directly to the projects.
Here is the video showing the shoe drive that happened in 2009.
Video Link: watch?v=UTuIgMSMAYM&feature=related