A mobile dental clinic in Gaza, supported by Welsh parishioners, will feature in a BBC Wales news report being broadcast this week.
The clinic, with its distinctive Welsh red dragon stickers, has been funded by the Church in Wales for the past 15 years and is operated by the Near East Council of Churches (NECC). It works in the Shejaiyah district of Gaza – an area which was the focus of much bombardment over the summer. So far this year the clinic has treated 4,000 patients.
The BBC Wales film crew tracked it down during a four-day visit to Gaza for a news report about conditions in the city, four months after the intense conflict. They also interviewed the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, as he viewed the footage.
The Church in Wales has donated £321,000 to the clinic since the appeal began as part of its Jubilee Fund in 2000. It aims to give £20,000 a year and is appealing for more contributions to ensure the clinic can continue operating.
The Archbishop, who visited Gaza several years ago, said, “A mobile dental clinic may seem like a very small thing to support in a place where there has been so much destruction and there are so many urgent needs, but it is one way in which we can offer support, hope and simple humanitarian care.
“Seeing the footage from BBC Wales it is clear life is much worse for people in Gaza now than it was when I visited 15 years ago and when the Church in Wales first set up the appeal. The attention of the world may have moved on again now after the intense conflict this summer, but it is important that we don’t forget how much people are suffering and that we continue to do what we can to help them.”
The Archdeacon of Margam, Philip Morris, who chairs the Church in Wales’ International Group, urged people to support the clinic. He said, “It is good to know that the Gaza Mobile Dental Clinic is still operating in the poorer districts of Gaza City. It provides an invaluable service to people who otherwise would not be able to access dental care.
“To keep it on the road, however, we need to raise about £20,000 a year and we are appealing for people to contribute what they can to support the fund.”
You can contribute to the work of the NECC through its dental clinic and health centres by sending money or a cheque, made payable to the Church in Wales Jubilee Fund, to The Church in Wales, 39, Cathedral Rd, Cardiff, CF11 9XF
You can see the BBC Wales film on Newyddion 9, S4C, at 9pm on Dec 17 and on Wales Today, BBC1, at 6.30pm on Dec 18. You can hear it on the morning news programmes, Good Morning Wales and Post Cyntaf on Dec 18.