In February 2004, Global Gardens of Peace began as a thought provoking idea from Moira Kelly AO, International Humanitarian, during a medical rescue mission to the Gaza Strip with current Board member – Philip Sacca. After Moira had seen children playing in rubble and the broken down state of Gaza, following the strong suggestion of the Union of Health Working Committees (UHWC) in Gaza Strip, Philip accompanied Moira to visit a Commonwealth War Cemetery. There she was amazed to find graves surrounded by a beautiful well-kept green landscape. This was the only green space Moira encountered during her visit and wondered “If you can do this for the dead, why can’t you do this for the living?”
Moira was moved to take action and boldly expressed to the Director of the UHWC and political associates that she intended to create a garden 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 left vowing that she would return with the Australian people to build a Garden of Hope for Gaza.
In July 2007, Moira received a visit in Melbourne from an UHWC representative who brought with him a letter entitled ‘Moira’s Garden’; his first words were ‘We have your land.’ 5000 square metres had been set aside for a children’s garden for Moira and the Australian people to create and build.
Some political turmoil and other issues precluded enacting any further project development for some time.
In late 2012, Moira was advised to approach Andrew Laidlaw, Landscape Architect, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RBGV), who had led the design of the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden. With the support of the RBGV Andrew engaged additional horticultural and technical expertise to form a design team. As the design progressed, the concept of developing gardens and living spaces world-wide to support the resilience of vulnerable communities around the world was explored and the organisation ‘Global Gardens of Peace’ was subsequently formed.
In 2013, a GGOP delegation headed by Andrew Laidlaw secured 32,000 square metres of land within the 400,00 square metres of Khan Younis Municipality. This land is now dedicated by this municipality to build the proposed Regional Park for the entire Gaza Strip.