How the most vulnerable children in the Gaza Strip use art and drawing to express themselves?
UNICEF strengthens the protection of children and child-parent relationships in the Gaza Strip marginalised communities through art and fun activities.
"I love sketching, and I began drawing every day with the paper and colors I got. I drew myself as a lawyer, and when I grow up, I want to be a great lawyer", says Dalia in second grade while showing her drawing which she learned during the house-to-house visits campaign.
This campaign aims to create a safe space for society's most marginalized children to express themselves and improve their psychological and social well-being using expressive arts tools and children's literature, as well as to protect them from the dangers and violations they face in society through referrals to case management and psychological counseling services. Those are families that live outside the catchment area of the twelve family centers currently supported by UNICEF. The centers provide an array of protection and psychosocial support activities at the hands of experienced trained and supervised case managers and counselors.
The fact that these communities are so neglected and so far away from everything as well as their dire economic situation makes it harder for them to reach child-friendly centers. To address this issue, UNICEF and its partners launched the house-to-house campaign to coach children and their caregivers in vulnerable communities and improve their protection through life skills education and arts. This also strengthens the relationship between parents, particularly between father and children. On one visit, we brought traditional storytellers dressed in traditional attire who told tales to children and adults, says Shimaa, a facilitator in this campaign.
"After the visits, my relationship with my children, and with their father, grew stronger. My husband would read so many stories and play with the kids to keep them entertained" says Wala, a mother of four children.
UNICEF also organizes community awareness activity with all family members, in collaboration with partners. This is part of the family center programme, where teams visit marginalized and underserved areas to access services. In this context, the house-to-house campaign also provides a platform to detect children with protection needs and refer them to receive support at the nearest family center or other service providers in line with the Gaza referral pathways.
During visits, the family is given a kits including toys, stationery, publications that carry messages of protection and interactive books. The bag's tools will allow the family to sketch, color, read stories, cut, paste, play games, and more. It also promotes the mental and social well-being of children and improves the level of interaction with their parents
The programme is implemented by UNICEF and supported by the Governments of Australia and Cyprus. 150 families and some 692 children in remote and vulnerable communities benefited from the house-to-house campaign. UNICEF’s child protection programme will continue its work to reach out to 300 families, 1,800 people, 1,200 children who is affected by the humanitarian crisis in the state of Palestine and provide them with the needed psychosocial support.