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Middle East Children's Alliance

It's nearly impossible to single out any one of the hundreds of hard-working, underfunded organizations in the East Bay and say it's the best. But if the Middle East Children's Alliance doesn't come close to it, we don't know who does. Since 1988, MECA has sent $9 million in food, medicine, toys, and books to children in Iraq, Israel/Palestine, and Lebanon, where it also has built schools and clinics. One of its many worthy projects is Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam, an "oasis of peace" near Jerusalem where Arab and Israeli villagers live, study, and work together in harmony. Another program supports Ibdaa ("To Create Something Out of Nothing"), a Palestinian children's dance troupe from Dheisheh refugee camp in the West Bank. In addition, several times a year MECA sends a small peace delegation -- consisting of doctors, teachers, journalists, and the like -- to refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza. This spring's delegation will be presenting "Shattering Myths in Palestine/Israel" on May 16 at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley.

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