Moira’s Garden – The Beginning by Beatrice Imbert
Global Gardens of Peace started life as a thought provoking idea from Moira Kelly AO, International humanitarian during a medical rescue mission to Gaza in February 2004.
Moira had the opportunity to visit several families in the refugee camps, in their destroyed homes. She witnessed first hand the images never revealed to the rest of the world and this affected her tremendously. She had lived through the atrocities of the Bosnian War and had hugely contributed to the plight of the children and their parents there and understood better than most the daily struggles that they faced.
In the midst of this bleak picture, the children were still being children. They could be seen on the war torn streets playing with the rubble left over from bombed buildings, with make shift toys constructed from broken pieces of metal and other rubbish that they gathered to play with either on the street or on the beach. No matter what situation a child finds itself, a child is still a child and play is a vital part of their existence.
Her first hand experience of Gaza and the children had moved her to take action. She boldly expressed to the Director of the UHWC and political associates that she intended to create a place where the children of Gaza and their families could come and play in a happy, serene, clean environment that would provide them with a break from their daily troubles. She had observed that there was nowhere for the children to go.
In July 2007, Moira received a visit from an Ittihad representative who was bringing a sick child for treatment. He also brought with him a letter entitled ‘Moira’s garden’ and that after the 2005 Israeli evacuation of Gaza strip, most of the removed settlement land had become available. His first words were ‘We have your land’. To her amazement, she was advised that 12,000 sqm of land had been put aside for a creation of master plan of which 5000 sqm was set aside for a ‘Children’s Garden’ for Moira and the Australian people to create and build.
And so Global Gardens of Peace began.
Our first project is planned for the city of Khan Younis in Gaza, Palestine. We expect the project to take approximately 3-4 years to complete on the ground. A concept plan has been prepared by Ian Potter’s Children’s Garden’s designer Andrew Laidlaw and we anticipate a cost of around $8.5 million. In 2013/14 we laid down the ground work for the establishment of a charity and we have commenced fund raising and awareness building.