Pharmacist raises almost £90,000 for Gaza humanitarian aid
A Manchester-based pharmacist has raised almost £90,000 to help provide aid in Gaza since the war broke out last month.
Zeshan Rehmani, owner of Manchester Pharmacy and Health Clinic, has raised more than £89,000 through his website since October 10 by networking with other pharmacists through social media and providing a QR code at his pharmacy for patients to scan and donate.
It follows the latest outbreak of violence between Israel and Palestine that has seen Israel bomb the Gaza strip since it was attacked by Hamas on October 7.
Mr Rehmani told C+D last week (October 26) that he has been a volunteer at charity Action for Humanity for about six years and along with four others is trying to “raise as much as possible” after initially raising and spending around £150,000 to provide medical aid and other supplies in Gaza.
He said that the current situation in Gaza is “probably one of the worst [he’s] seen as a humanitarian” and that it’s important we “[channel] our frustration and sadness in the right way” through donating because the humanitarian response is “going to be really important”.
When the war first broke out, Mr Rehmani and his team used funds to purchase “medical aid that was already in Gaza” and “[distribute it] to the hospitals for free”, he told C+D.
“The other thing that we’ve done is…manage to procure food and [other] supplies within Gaza already”, he said, adding that the team has given vouchers to “about 600 families” to use in some aid centres.
“They can pick and choose what they need”, which for some might be nappies and other items for babies while for others it might be food, he said.
Mr Rehmani said that the reason his fundraiser has been so successful is because of his “transparency” and because he’s built himself “a reputation”.
He has raised money for different countries before, including Syria, Yemen and Pakistan, and he shares updates and photos of how the money is providing support through WhatsApp and Instagram, he added.
What about the blockades?
Mr Rehmani said that he is waiting for a ceasefire so that a “humanitarian corridor can be opened up inside Gaza”.
“The problem that we have now is that supplies inside Gaza are running seriously low,” he added.
“And that’s why the fundraising is so important, so that we’ve got the funds in place for as soon as the [humanitarian] corridor is open and we can go in and start the rebuilding process to save as many lives as we can,” he said.
Bringing communities together
Mr Rehmani told C+D that the public has donated a lot of money “very quickly” and that raising this much money in this little time “is quite unusual”.
But he added that people from many different backgrounds have contributed because the situation “has touched a lot of people”.
Mr Rehmani, who visited Gaza in 2021, said that before the war about 80% of the population in Gaza were already relying on humanitarian aid relief.
You can donate to Mr Rehmani’s emergency appeal for Gaza here.