Age Demands Action in Gaza: Inspiring younger people to support older people's rights!
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 a 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.
Find out more about the rest of the Age Demands Action leaders