Gaza: He taught thousands of children to swim – Now he only hears about the deaths of his students

Gaza: He taught thousands of children to swim – Now he only hears about the deaths of his students
Gaza: He taught thousands of children to swim – Now he only hears about the deaths of his students
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The 11,000 children who learned to swim in the pools Amjed Tantesh built on the beaches of Gaza are constantly on his mind and occasionally pop up on his Facebook timeline.

Himself displaced from his home in northern Gaza, Tantesh has only occasional access to the internet. But when he does, he inevitably learns of the deaths of friends, neighbors and former students, posting related tributes to them.

His swimming school has survived previous wars, driven by his ambition to ensure the children of Gaza can swim safely in its seas, but now he fears news that another one of those children – their pupils – has been killed or injured.

Last week, she posted a photo of a young boy in a suit. Mohammed Mosalam, Tantesh wrote, was one of my best swimmers, but he was killed in an airstrike.

Tantesh has been coaching children in Gaza since 1999, when he won a local swimming championship. His dream was to create an Olympic athlete, a dream that he has not been able to fulfill to this day.

Earlier, Tantesh, from the rural town of Beit Lahia, posted about 11-year-old Mariam Dawas, his student and cousin’s daughter, losing her legs, as well as the death of a swimming coach he worked with, along with the four his young sons.

He also mourned the killing of one of his oldest students, 28-year-old Naser Rajab, who followed Tantesh’s example and cared for local children. Tantesh called him “one of the most vibrant, lovable and funny people you could ever meet”.

Tantesh has been coaching children in Gaza since 1999, when he won a local swimming championship. His dream was to create an Olympic athlete, a dream that he has not been able to fulfill to this day.

Whenever a pool was destroyed by war, a new one was dug. After initially refusing to leave Beit Lahia, Tantesh was forced by heavy shelling of northern Gaza to move his family south, where Israel told Gazans they would be safer.

“The feeling of helplessness is the biggest killer of yourself and your spirit. I am unable to help myself, my loved ones, or my students in any way,” says Tantesh. “Everything has turned into a big challenge, from finding drinking water to finding bread. We are thirsty and hungry. We spend the whole day to barely secure one meal a day for our children,” he concludes

The article is in Greek

Tags: Gaza taught thousands children swim hears deaths students

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