UNICEF-supported psychosocial sessions help distressed children
GAZA, 17 November 2004 - Eight-year-old Asma Sabah plays innocently on a sea saw amid the rubble of Northern Gaza, just days after a three-week incursion ended that left almost 30 children dead and several hundred injured.
Recalling one of the last nights of the incursion she said: “I am so scared. I went to mother and grandmother and we all hid in a corner of the house. It is hard to sleep and I have nightmares that the Israeli army is destroying my house.”
In the Gaza Strip, it is not unusual for children to get caught in house demolitions or hear live fire on a daily basis. In fact a recent survey of children in oPt showed that 93 percent reported feeling not safe.
One of the ways children cope with their distress from the pervasive violence is through psychosocial counselling sessions supported by UNICEF. Run by trained counsellors they are held near the homes of the children and allow victims to speak about their distress – sometimes manifested by nightmares, aggressive behaviour and difficulty concentrating - and hear the stories of other distressed children.
Said one young participant: “With what is happening I don’t have dreams anymore; I have nightmares. I want these sessions to help fix this.”