LONDON: An athlete who raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity during Ramadan has launched a new campaign to raise $ 70,000 to donate for emergency humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza and in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Haroon Mota plans to hold four marathons in just three weeks, or a total of 105 miles, to raise awareness and raise funds to help Palestinians cope with the humanitarian crisis brought on by a devastating campaign of airstrikes and artillery bombardment carried out against militants and civilians in Gaza.
More than 200 people have been killed and 1,300 injured by Israeli strikes during 12 days of fighting in Gaza – exasperating an already dire economic and humanitarian situation for the 2 million inhabitants of this small territory.
“It was difficult for me to ignore the plight of the Palestinian people,” Mota told Arab News. “For me, as a fundraiser and humanitarian, this is the one thing we do best: trying to respond not only to natural disasters, but to the consequences of war and conflict.”
As a Muslim, he said, he has strong feelings for Palestine and the Palestinian people.
“It hurts to see so much suffering,” said Mota, fundraising manager at Islamic Charity Penny Appeal.
“I hope to raise $ 70,000 to fund humanitarian relief projects in Palestine. Much of this will be spent in Gaza, where the greatest humanitarian crisis exists – it truly is a disaster. “
Mota continued, “It is important not only to raise funds for the Palestinian cause, but also to raise awareness of the plight of the Palestinians.
“As people debate politics during conflict and war, it is easy to forget that it is real people and real lives that are affected. I run for them, these people who only know war and who fight daily.
Mota has led various fundraising campaigns in the past for Penny Appeal, but said the humanitarian crisis in Gaza means this new initiative is the most ambitious yet.
“I run because I have a choice. I put on my running shoes and go out for a run. In comparison, people have to flee the bombs; they have no choice, ”he said.
“These are the people I think. I hope I can inspire people to give and to contribute, but also to consider different ways of supporting from a humanitarian point of view. “
Mota will be training for the next few months before the final stage of his challenge begins with the Berlin Marathon at the end of September. The London, Chicago and New York marathons will follow shortly thereafter.
Mota said: “I encourage people to support me and follow my journey on social media. If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps and run for the Palestinian cause, now is the time to make that commitment.