UNICEF distributes recreational kits for children in Gaza
By Reem Tarazi
GAZA, 29 June 2006 – With the renewal of fighting in Gaza, schools closed for the summer, and hot, unsafe streets, children have little to do and nowhere safe to play.
Because children living in the midst of conflict often internalize the stress and fear they feel, UNICEF’s support to families includes materials that enable children confined to their homes a creative and positive means of entertainment and expression.
On Thursday, UNICEF distributed 112 kits filled with puzzles, coloring books, crayons, notebooks and pencils for at least 10 children each to Bedouin families living in villages north of Beit Lahia and Beit Hannoun, areas close to the fighting.
“We are afraid to play outside the house, and at home, we cannot watch television because we do not have electricity,” said 10-year old Rihab. "When I saw the box, I thought it is a food parcel. But, when my sister opened it and saw the toys, I was so thrilled that I could not believe my eyes.”
Caregivers are increasingly concerned about safety, so children are not allowed them to play in the streets, as they normally do. “When my children saw the toys, they were so happy. There are some toys that my children are seeing for the first time in their lives,” said Rihab’s mother.
The kits were funded by Italian National Committee for UNICEF.
UNICEF's emergency activities also include:
- Pre-positioning of eight generators: six with Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), one with Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Rafah, one in Gaza UNICEF office
- 566 family water kits (for 10 families each) are pre-positioned, mostly with PRCS.
- Four large water tanks pre-positioned with PRCS in four different districts
- Five child protection teams offering home visits/individual counseling
- One hotline is operational providing psycho-social support
- Twenty additional outreach centers opened in the Gaza Strip.