Dhafer Tmimi, a representative of Tunisian Scouts in charge of media and publications, announced yesterday that the “Freedom Caravan,” arrived safely in the Gaza strip, through Egypt’s Rafah Crossing. The delegation was comprised of three scout leaders and eight scouts.
The caravan was warmly welcomed by the Jerusalem Scout Group, representatives from Palestinian civil society, Palestinian authorities, and the Red Crescent.
The caravan transported approximately four tons of medical aid and equipment. The initiative was organized when Tunisian scouts contacted Palestinian scout groups via Facebook, and worked together to make a list of needed medical equipment. The scouts also opened an account for donators to contribute funding to the caravan.
The caravan reached Cairo on December 22. Security and administrative preparations took almost a week, delaying the group’s ability to cross the border until December 27.
After their arrival in the Gaza strip, the group visited several hospitals and observed the healthcare situation available to Palestinian patients.
“The Palestinian Red Crescent was in charge of distributing the medical equipment by order of priority. The scouts also signed a partnership agreement with the Jerusalem Scout Group to endorse future cooperation projects.” explained Dhafer Tmimi.
The group spent two days in Gaza before returning to Cairo. “This is a memorable achievement for Tunisian civil society. The Palestinian embassy’s spokesman told us that this was the first time in history a caravan carrying this much aid has reached Gaza without being forced to drop-off their supplies at the Egyptian-Palestinian border. I truly believe that the apolitical aspect of this initiative made it a success,” said Leader Dhafer enthusiastically.
The Tunisian Scouts recognized the tremendous efforts concerted by the Tunisian Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Tunisian Red Crescent, and the Tunisian embassy in Egypt to ensure a safe journey for the caravan members.
“Civil society can always be a crucial agent of change. Acting outside of a limited political scope is a positive step towards building peace in the Arab world,” Dhafer said.