In Memoriam: Maha Abu-Dayyeh (24 August 1951 – 9 January 2015)

We learned with great sadness that Maha Abu-Dayyeh passed away this morning after a long battle against cancer. Maha was a lifelong activist for peace and human rights. In 1991 she founded the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC), a not-for-profit organization working in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza to develop a democratic Palestinian society based on the principles of gender equality and social justice between men and women. WCLAC was one of Donor Direct Action’s founding partners.

Maha was also one of the co-founders of the International Women’s Commission for a Just and Sustainable Israeli-Palestinian Peace, a bold effort to bring Israeli, Palestinian and other women leaders from around the world together to work for peace. She was also a long-time board member of Equality Now.

“We don’t have the luxury of despair,” Maha once said, “in times of crises we must provide hope and leadership whilst inspiring the next generation of young women.” Maha never despaired, despite the tremendous political challenges of her work both as a peace activist and as a women’s rights activist, and the severe health challenges she faced with quiet courage over the last decade. She was an inspiration to her own generation as well as the next one, serving as a role model for hope and leadership to many, including me. Her wisdom, her kindness and her unwavering commitment to peace and justice will be greatly missed.

Maha’s family and WCLAC have established a memorial fund in honor of Maha. Contributions can be made online to the WCLAC Memorial Fund for Maha Abu-Dayyeh.

Jessica Neuwirth
Donor Direct Action

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