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Age Demands Action in Gaza: Inspiring younger people to support older people's rights!

10 Oct 2011

On 30 September, I participated in a video conference in collaboration with Tony Blair Faith Foundation, as part of Age Demands Action.

The objective was to exchange information with young students about issues affecting older people and the role played by faith in the changing society. The theme of the conference this year was "Voices of the Future: Intergenerational" and had students from the Philippines, Dubai, India and Ramallah.

Since I am located in the Gaza strip, it was an opportunity for me to speak to younger people in places I cannot visit easily.

Joining forces to challenge age discrimination

My personal interest was to inspire younger people to provide support to older people. I wanted to express that everyone should love each other regardless of their skin colour, race, religion or age. I wanted to share the message that we come from one mother, one father and we must love one another. 

In places like Gaza, age discrimination often happens among family themselves. This is due to financial issues and the priority to support children rather than grandparents. Younger people are not interested in respecting the elderly in society and often show disrespect towards them.

From the video conference, I was impressed that younger people are eager to care for and assist older people. Many of the students brought their grandparents to the video conference which showed that families are coming together and are joining forces to challenge age discrimination.

Some students expressed concern that older people are seen as a burden to the society and are often victims of crime. Others expressed the need to show respect towards the elderly and that often, religions teach them to do this. We all agreed that it is important to engage older people in social cultural activities, celebrate festivals together and take care of each other.

Age Demands Action in Gaza

Apart from the conference, I also participated in Older people in Gaza participate in a silent march for this year's Age Demands Actiona silent march with nearly 400 other older people to celebrate the UN International Day of Older Persons in the Gaza strip. Everyone carried posters and messages expressing their demands.

I delievered a speech to the ministry of social affairs calling for pension and free health insurance for older people.

It was wonderful to hear the minister confirming that the rights of older people should be properly addressed with resources available from European Union and World Bank.

Equal rights for everyone

This year's ADA and the video conference reaffirmed my faith that peace brings about a positive impact on communities. Interacting with the students and listening to the minister supporting older people's rights was a satisfying experience.

I am an advocate for equality in society. Everybody in the world has the right to live in peace, with safety and dignity. No one, young or old, should be discriminated against.

Please sign the Age Demands Action global petition and keep checking out the Age Demands Action web pages for all the latest updates.

Find out more about the rest of the Age Demands Action leaders

Your comments


Fantastic Mr.Shehada. Below is a letter from a student in Philippines commenting on the video conference. 'First of all let me just say I am just filled with joy that I was able to participate in a Video Conference. This is my first time in having a VC ever since I joined the Face to Faith. We started and I just stayed quiet and since everybody is given a limited amount of time I just let my juniors summarize their idea on the topic. I talked twice and I think I did okay. Looking back to my first video conference I think I need to improve a bit more. Now on to the main topic that was being discussed in the VC was UN day of the old(I think that was name of the title) So six schools had a Video Conferecne all at once with one guest speaker who is working for the better life of senior citizens in Palestine. Even though we had some difficulty for everybody getting connected and some delay it was great VC. I learned a lot from the different schools on how each and every country shows their respect or how they care for the elderly. Some had customs, while others had a law(I think thats what I heard) Hearing this, everybody is really showing how much they care for the elderly. It made me realise that today in our world we are growing rapidly and people mostly want the young and new. Most people discard the old as if they were tools that can't be used anymore. I think this how people see old peole. Old people may not be able to do everything that a normal person can do but, they live longer than us. The elders have lived longer than most of us and probably saw a lot in history such as World War II, Cold War, Assasination of Kennedy, The invention of colored TV and much more. Overall this VC has taught me that Old people really need a home and we should care for them until their time comes(I sound so sad).'

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Abed Errahman Shehada
Country: Gaza

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.