Humanitarian Action Report 2007 - Homepage

MENA OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

Psychosocial counseling sessions to alleviate Palestinian children’s fears

Since there are no places to play in Al Zaytoun, children wander the streets, improvising their own games in the heavily populated area east of Gaza City. Poverty is rife and ongoing hostilities have made matters worse.

To help with the humanitarian crisis, UNICEF and its partners have been conducting special psychosocial counselling sessions in addition to their regular support programmes.

Children’s fears, exacerbated by their exposure to violence, surface during the sessions at the Al Zaytoun psychosocial workshop.

“There was a school and then there was this plane flying over the school,” says Shaban, 10, explaining the drawings he has just finished. “And it dropped a missile on the school.”

Special programmes are needed to improve the bleak situation of children living in Gaza and the West Bank. Many essential services have been disrupted and, in July alone, 39 children were killed in the occupied Palestinian territory – 36 in Gaza and 3 in the West Bank. Some 100 children were injured.

Armed hostilities in Gaza come at a time when children would normally be enjoying their summer vacation. “These days, there is shelling here and I’m not very happy in life,” laments Ahmed, 11. “Because of the shelling, I can’t go to the beach, we can’t go on picnics. I’m scared. You can’t live your life.”

© UNICEF-oPt/2006/Jadallah

A group of young Palestinian children are looking at a destroyed building that was hit by an Israeli missile attack during the recent outbreak of hostilities in the Gaza Strip.