Archive for Gaza children

Hoda’s story

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, IDF, Videos with tags , , , on 12/05/2011 by 3071km

Filmaker: Johan Eriksson

Date published: 12th May 2011

Source: Al Jazeera English

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We follow a Palestinian girl’s gradual rehabilitation after she was shot and blinded in Gaza.

Link to the documentary “Hoda’s story”

In March 2003, 12-year-old Hoda Darwish was sitting at her desk in a UN elementary school in Khan Younis on the Gaza Strip when an Israeli high-velocity bullet was fired through her classroom window. It hit Hoda in the head. The doctors at the hospital said that she would never awaken from her coma.

But after two weeks she started to recover. When she woke up she slowly discovered that her life would never be the same again – she had lost her sight.

This poignant film looks at Hoda’s gradual mental and physical rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Centre in Gaza, as she copes with the daily pain and suffering of her injury and how she rebuilds her confidence, all in a place full of fear and tragedy.

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Nightmares continue to plague Gaza children

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Hamas, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Pictures, Siege with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 03/02/2010 by 3071km

Date published: 3 February 2010

Source: The Electronic Intifada

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Mona al-Samouni shows a photo of her parents who she witnessed being killed in Israel’s assault on Gaza in January 2009. (Suhair Karam/IRIN)

OCCUPIED GAZA STRIP (IRIN) – Mona al-Samouni, 12, is depressed and has nightmares about the day — just more than a year ago — when she witnessed her parents and a number of relatives being shot by Israeli soldiers in their home in Zeitoun, southeast of Gaza City.

Like a number of other children who witnessed horrific events during last year’s 23-day Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, Mona has become increasingly withdrawn and silent — common ways of coping with tragedies, doctors say.

Statistics about Palestinians who lost their life during the military operation vary, but nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) place the overall number of persons killed between 1,387 and 1,417. The Gaza authorities report 1,444 fatal casualties, while Israel provides a figure of 1,166, according to the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, also known as the Goldstone report.

The killing of Mona’s family is one of the most notorious incidents of last year’s conflict in Gaza and was one of 11 incidents investigated by the UN mission “in which Israeli forces launched direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcome” and in which “the facts indicate no justifiable military objective pursued by the attack.” It said Israeli forces “killed 23 members of the extended al-Samouni family” on that day.

“There is a significant deterioration in the psychological well-being of Palestinian children who are living in the Gaza Strip, especially after the recent war,” Ayesh Samour, director of the Psychiatric Hospital in Gaza, told IRIN.

According to a study by NGO Ard al-Insan in Gaza, 73 percent of Gaza children are still suffering from psychological and behavioral disorders, including psychological trauma, nightmares, involuntary urination, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Samour said children in Gaza were being denied a normal childhood because of the insecurity and instability in their environment. He said a culture of violence and death had pervaded their mentalities, making them angrier and more aggressive.

A dearth of health professionals in the Strip and a lack of access to medical equipment meant children were not getting the help they needed, Samour said.

Basem Naim, the Hamas minister of health in Gaza, said hospitals and primary care facilities damaged during the Gaza conflict have not been rebuilt due to the blockade of the territory under which Israel bans the entry of construction materials, saying they could be used for military purposes.

“Health professionals in Gaza have been cut off from the outside world,” Naim said.

Hussain Ashour, director of al-Shifa Hospital, the main hospital in Gaza City, said they lacked medical equipment and pediatricians.

Project

Save the Children Sweden and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on 25 January launched the Family Centers Project in Gaza.

“The project will ensure that the right to survival and development of children at risk … is ensured through the establishment of 20 Family Centers in different communities of the Gaza Strip,” Patricia Hoyos, director of Save the Children in Gaza, told IRIN.

“Its main role is to serve a wide population and to provide quality child protection, educational, health and psychosocial services to all those in need of support,” she said.

This item comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. All IRIN material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge; refer to the copyright page for conditions of use. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

30th July – Gaza kids shatter kite-flying world record

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Videos with tags on 30/07/2009 by 3071km

Thousands of Palestinian children have gathered in the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break the world record on the number of kites flown at the same time, in the same place.

Thursday’s event was part of a UN initiative organised to restore hope and normality to the war-torn territory.

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin reports.

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Written by Ayman Mohyeldin

Date Published: 30th July 2009

Source: Al Jazeera English

Gaza children shatter world record
By Ayman Mohyeldin in Gaza
The event is part of a UN-sponsored programme set up for students during their academic break

It was an unlikely place to shatter a world record, but the beaches of the Gaza Strip were the venue for thousands of Palestinian children who flew the largest number of kites simultaneously from the same place.The record that once stood at 713 has been broken, thanks to the efforts of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and about 6,000 kite-flying children.

The event is part of the Summer Games programme run by UNRWA – an activities and curricular programme set up for students during their break from the academic school year.

More than half of Gaza’s 1.5 million people are under the age of 18 – so there is no shortage of potential record-breakers.

Popular programme

Although only 200,000 are actually enrolled in UN-operated schools, there are nearly 240,000 children who participate in the Summer Games, proving that the UNRWA programme has been a popular activity during the summer break.

Thousands of teachers give up their summer holidays to partake in the programme each year that is aimed at fostering a positive summer experience for Gaza’s children.But unlike elsewhere in the world, the children and the people of Gaza are now entering their third year under an Israeli-imposed siege and blockade, and are still reeling from the devastating war just seven months ago.

While the summer programme helps students who have fallen behind during the school year to catch up academically, the kite-flying event was a genuine world record attempt.

Clear guidelines

The Guinness Book of World Records was invited to verify the attempt, but due to a security advisory by the UK government warning against any travel to the Gaza Strip, they instead sent event organisers very clear guidelines in order for the record to be considered.

More than 119 schools were allotted open areas along the beach for their students.

Independent observers organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross supervised each school’s area. Every child’s name was registered.

The kites had to remain in the air for 30 seconds all simultaneously – and when it came time for the record – the media, fans, and above all the children were not disappointed.

UNRWA officials say they are confident the record has been broken with some estimates putting the number of kites flown to around 4,000.

Message to the world

International media, including Al Jazeera English, witnessed the record-breaking event.

The world record event, however, was not just about records, say organisers.

Gaza’s children have been suffering from three years of Israeli siege [GETTY]

They say it sends an important message to the world.

“There is a glorious symbolism about thousands of children in the world’s most locked down community heading to the beach with beautiful kites they have created themselves and showing the world that they are able to have fun like kids anywhere and indeed, be number one in the world,” Chris Gunness, the UNRWA spokesperson, said.

“Thousands of kites, soaring skyward with kids gazing upward allowing their thoughts to rise up from the grind they confront on the ground: it is a symbol of the quest for happiness, freedom and human fulfilment,” he added.

The event’s organisers say they have succeeded in inspiring the children of Gaza to gaze into the skies above, whether the Guinness record is shattered or not.

So as Gaza’s blue skies turned into an array of coloured paper kites, the sounds of children laughing and paper flapping served as reminder to the youth of Gaza that they, too, can be among the world’s best despite the odds.