GAZA: SUPPORT THE CHILDREN
A programme of 60 ‘life skill and resilience’ sessions for children in Gaza.
We worked with our partners, Theatre for Everybody, to organise this.
The eleven days of military hostilities in May of last year left 1 in 10 Palestinians in Gaza (210,000) with severe to moderate mental health disorders. A report conducted in 2018 called ‘Decade of Distress’ revealed that 95% of the children surveyed reported depression, hyperactivity, preference for being alone and aggression; 68% reported sleeping difficulties.
In May, 67 children were killed by military action. 8,500 people are still homeless as a consequence of the attacks. After 14 years of blockade, 3 major wars and continual irregular bombardment the situation has been made worse by the corona virus pandemic.
So in the late Summer of last year when we spoke to our partners and ask them what we could do, the answer was quick and sure: help the children!
GAZA: SUPPORT THE CHILDREN worked with 100 children in five centres where provision of child protection and child development services are scarce: Zeina Co-operative Association, Bedwen Village – in the North of the Gaza territory, Alnajat Association, Bani Suhalia in Khan Younis Governorate, Baraem Al Amal wa AL Mahabba Association in the Maghazi Refugee Camp, Bena’a Association for Community Development in Jabalia, Northern Governorate, Rural Women’s Development Association, Kherbet Al Adas in the Rafah Governorate
The work was carried out by Child Protection, Education and Resilience Facilitators, Hamdan Al Shawa and Karam Abu Aleish, both of whom work with Maan Development Agency and have worked on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency ‘Right to Play’ Summer Camps and projects sponsored by Mercy Corps and many other child development related projects.They used a Child Resilience approach in the delivery of this programme. This is a non-clinical psycho-social protection methodology that is aligned with Child Protection Minimum Standards.57 girls and 43 boys between the ages of 9 and 14 took part. They worked in groups of 10 and each child took part in 6 sessions, 2 per week. There were 60 sessions in all. 13 of these children were found to be exposed to domestic violence and/or neglect and were referred to a child protection provider for further support.
We are grateful to everybody involved: the people who gave money, the organisers, the facilitators, the community centres and, of course, the children.