Life stories of the Palestinian orphans, most of whom have lost their parents in Israeli attacks, are quite touching.
The father of Hedil Abu Libde, 9, was killed in an Israeli strike in 2004. Hedil, who lost his father at the age of 3, spoke about the hardship of fatherlessness. In response to the question “What would you like?” he said “If I had a chance I would want my father.”
He said he liked Turkey, because Palestine did not have the parks and playgrounds Turkey had.
Maha Musa is living with her 32-year old mother in Gaza. She was happy to meet Ali Türk and his family that had been sponsoring her for a year.
“This is the best surprise of Ramadan. We were happy to have her over on the Lailat al-Qadr,” Türk said.
Yahya Subu, 12, is another orphan who met his sponsor family that night. Yahya lost his father and four of his uncles as well as his house to an attack. His uncle is looking after him and eight other siblings.
Gülten Laçin, who is caring for Yahya, said: “I now understand better what happiness it is to take care of an orphan. I came here with my children. They embraced their orphan brother. We will take care of him as long as we can. He is entrusted to us.”
Laçin thanked the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation for arranging the meeting.
The IHH is caring for 16,000 orphans in a number of countries through its sponsor family program. Among these orphans 9,500 of them are Palestinian. A sponsor family can assume care of an orphan with 70 Turkish liras donation a month. The IHH regularly delivers donations to the orphans, so they can meet their needs.
Speaking at the night IHH vice president Yusuf Bilgin said: “What we need to do is to share our bread with orphans. We have 16,000 orphans. But this is a very low number considering 5 million orphans in Iraq and 30,000 in Palestine. These are figures for only two countries. There are millions of orphans in the world. We are expecting support from benevolent citizens. Let us ease the suffering of orphans together.”
Mine Karakaş, head of the IHH Orphan Unit, said they took the orphans to the dolphin performance center, Panorama museum as well as historical attractions of Istanbul, and added the children had enjoyable moments.
The orphans were handed presents at the end of the program and were seen off to Egypt to cross into Gaza from Rafah border crossing.