Telecom Resilience: How Connecting Gaza Provides Lifelines With 100K+ e-SIMs

Destroyed homes, a ‘second Nakba,’ and the death of thousands are just a few of the tragedies that Gazans had to face since October 7. In addition to that, imagine being completely disconnected from the outside world, not being able to communicate what’s happening on the ground.

Since October 7, and amid the Israeli airstrikes and Gaza genocide, the entire strip has been cut off from telecommunications four times. That’s where Connecting Gaza comes into play, an initiative spearheaded by Egyptian author and activist Mirna El Helbawi that aims to offer e-SIMs to Gazans. So far, they’ve been able to send 100,000 e-SIMs to Gaza.

The entire grassroots initiative began when El Helbawi became adamant about finding a solution to the telecommunications problem in Gaza. As per a recommendation by a social media user, she purchased an e-SIM with roaming service and had a friend try to connect to a foreign network, and it worked.

From there, she asked people on X and Instagram who wanted to help fix the telecommunications problem in Gaza to donate e-SIMs by buying them online and sending her the QR codes. She then launched Connecting Gaza, complete with a page dedicated to the initiative on Instagram.

“The right to telephone and internet access is a basic human right just as important as food and water,” El Helbawi, 31, told CNN. Through Connecting Gaza, El Helbawi, along with a small group of volunteers, helped to connect thousands of Palestinians to the outside world.

The initiative was so successful that it even earned global recognition with donors sending QR codes from as far as the US, Switzerland, Pakistan, and the Netherlands. Today, they’re continuing their efforts knowing that the Gaza genocide is still ongoing, marking its 92nd day thus far.

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