Child Psychological Support by Anees Mansour

Hello from Gaza. My name is Anees Mansour, one of a group of volunteers working with at-risk children in Rafah, Gaza. With your help we’ve already done so much this year, we’ve put on a summer camp, a series of educational workshops, art therapy and performance sessions. From the photos below you can see some of the great results we’ve had.

The public response to our work has been so supportive – so thank you. Our new initiative is to train 18 new volunteers to provide psycho-social support to the children we work with here in Rafah. To reach more children we need more volunteers and we need to train them in basic counselling and art therapy. You don’t need me to tell you how badly the children of Gaza need a creative outlet in a safe space. Rafah is one of the poorest areas in Gaza and the psychological pressures on children are, frankly, brutal. We are working to create and maintain some small safe spaces for them to grow and your ongoing help is central to our efforts.

Rafah is in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, Palestine on the Palestinian-Egyptian border, with an estimated area of 55 km and home to a population of 270,000 people, of whom a large proportion are children. Rafah is one of the poorest areas in Gaza, which, of course, is suffering from a prolonged, brutal siege. All and any help is appreciated.

you can see the pictures of our past projects @
• Gaza Summer Camp
• Our Right To Play
• Our Health in Our Hands
• Field Trip

For any further information , don’t hesitate to contact me at: anemansour@gmail.com or by phone on 00970598699046

Thanks in advance!

A Samira Project Success Story

This is from the Middle East Children’s Alliance project assistant in Gaza, who tells us that the program now has 220 children enrolled over two shifts. Photos are taken with consent, and A’hed’s first name is used with the family’s approval.

 


Related articles:

  • Samira Project Children’s Counseling
  • Samira Counseling Photos

  • A’hed is a nine year old boy. He joined the project from the early beginning – in August 2015. During the primary activities of that month, like ice-breaking and introductory activities, the psychologist noticed that there was something wrong about A’hed. “I noticed that he was very aggressive and very nervous during the activities. He attacked his colleagues more than once, he was moving a lot during the activities, he was sensitive and he refused to make any relationships with the other children,” said psychologist Haneen Jomaa.

    She explained: “These regular symptoms showed that A’hed is suffering from a severe psychological trauma. I talked to A’hed privately in order to complete a form about his case. After several questions, I figured out that his father had died during the last war on Gaza in 2014, his mother left him and his sister after his father’s death, and they live now in their uncle’s house.

    In conclusion, his family was broken, his mother was uneducated, and he and his sister faced serious economic problems. As a result of this session with A’hed, I called his uncle’s wife for a meeting to complete the parents form with her. I asked her to speak freely and honestly about A’hed in order to help me healing him. During her speech, many problems showed up.

    “A’hed was suffering from bed-wetting, he was terrified from the frequent assault of his uncle, he was a forgetful, his requests must be done immediately, he was treating animals cruelly, and, finally, A’hed once set fire to the house!” said his uncle’s wife painfully.

    A’hed was classified as a special case immediately. He was in need of special psychological support sessions. A joint plan was prepared by the psychologist and the teacher to follow-up his case. The psychologist tended to integrate him into activities which focus on various problems, such as getting rid of the fear, babbling, hesitation and isolation.

    A remarkable improvement appeared in A’hed’s behavior and educational achievement. He was starting to answer questions without any hesitation, concentrating on his lessons, his marks in several subjects increased, and his love and passion of studying appeared in his commitment and discipline in the various activities of the project.

    In addition, the material and moral motivation played a major role in his improvement. For example, his grade last year was 52%, but in the first semester of this year, his grade was 70%. “Regardless of this great improvement, A’hed needs more work in order to reach the required level,” said Haneen Jomaa.

    “I Like to spend my time in the Women’s Union Center studying and playing with my friends. It’s much better than my house.” A’hed said.

    November 1, 2015
    Room No. 4 Photos and Speaker

    room no. 4 handcuffed

    Sunday, November 1, 2015
    First Unitarian Society
    900 University Bay Drive, Madison
    1:00 – 2:30 pm

    “They left me in the room for 5 hours with my hands tied behind my back and my legs tied to each other. When I refused to confess, they slapped me and tightened the hand ties more and more.” 15-year-old boy

    Room No. 4 is a photographic campaign prepared by the Madaa Silwan Center and War Child Holland to illustrate the violations of Palestinian children’s rights in East Jerusalem. The 12 staged photos are accompanied by written testimonies from the children themselves. Room No. 4 is the name of the Israeli interrogation room at the Russian Compound Detention Center in Jerusalem. An additional 10 documentary photos of life in occupied East Jerusalem taken by Majd Ghaith will further demonstrate the violations of children’s rights from home demolitions to settler violence.

    Come hear from Sahar Abbasi Baidon – Direct from Palestine! Sahar is a mother of four and the deputy director of MECA’s partner, Madaa Silwan Creative Center, in East Jerusalem. Born and raised in Silwan, Sahar and has worked at Madaa focusing on projects to improve life for children and women. She works directly with children who are arrested, and her interviews and research (“The Impact of Child Arrest”, a study published by Sahar and Dr. Kasahun) are the basis for the Room Number 4 photo exhibit.

    Free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Madaa Silwan Creative Center in hiring a psychologist to help these children.

    Sponsored by Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, and Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison. For more information visit MECA or contact rafahsistercity (at) yahoo.com.

    Palestinians in Gaza are still waiting for the siege to end

    Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 10 September 2014

    Destruction everywhere

    UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

    A new United Nations assessment published this week lays out the massive scope of the needs facing the nearly 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza following the “unprecedented” destruction wreaked by 51 days of Israeli bombing in July and August.

    Israel’s assault – which it dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” – left at least 2,133 Palestinians dead and more than eleven thousand injured. More than 100,000 are permanently homeless as some 13 percent of Gaza’s housing stock – 44,300 housing units – was affected by the attack, with five percent rendered completely uninhabitable.

    The UN report “Gaza Initial Rapid Assessment,” published by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), was conducted through August with the assistance of dozens of Palestinian and international aid agencies, organizations and experts.

    It indicates that almost everyone in every part of Gaza faces some urgent need for basic protection, healthcare and rehabilitation, housing, water, food security or education.

    The report came out the same day that the UN and the Palestinian Authority launched a $551 million emergency appeal to meet urgent humanitarian needs in Gaza.

    The assessment also identifies the need for “legal support to address some of these protection needs, including pursuing accountability for alleged violations of international law resulting in deaths and injuries, as well as destruction of property as a result of the military operation.”

    The siege is still the issue

    These findings underscore the urgency of the call made by Palestinians in Gaza and human rights and humanitarian groups insistently: reconstruction, recovery and a normal, dignified life are impossible unless the siege is lifted.

    There is a strong consensus in the international humanitarian aid industry that the siege must go.

    “Only a full opening of all crossings to people and goods, including exports will enable Palestinian civilians in Gaza to restore their economy and escape the poverty the blockade has entrenched,” Oxfam has said. “The international community must press Israel for the blockade to be fully lifted, rather than only eased.”

    And the International Committee of the Red Cross has long viewed the siege of Gaza as illegal collective punishment.

    But since the 26 August ceasefire, uncertainty and mystery continue to shroud the understandings regarding the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza reached by Israel and Palestinian resistance organizations.

    Although the ceasefire understandings were not made public, media reported that they “include opening all crossings to Gaza, allowing reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, allowing the entry of materials needed for reconstruction and permitting fishing for a distance of six to twelve nautical miles from shore.”

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    Strike near UN school in Gaza leaves 10 dead


    Palestinians evacuate a survivor of an Israeli air strike that hit the Al Ghoul family building in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014. At least 40 people were inside the Al Ghoul family building in Rafah Camp when it was targeted by Israeli jet fighters, according to the Red Crescent and Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. Many have been confirmed dead and over two dozen have been wounded. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)

    TAMER ZIARA AND IBRAHIM BARZAK, ASSOCIATED PRESS, August 3, 2014

    RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — A United Nations school sheltering displaced people in the southern Gaza Strip was hit Sunday by what a U.N. official said appeared to be an Israeli airstrike, as the military struck the Hamas-ruled territory despite signaling a possible scaling back of its 27-day offensive.

    Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said at least 10 people were killed and 35 wounded after the strike near a boys’ school in the town of Rafah. Robert Turner, the director of operations for the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza, said preliminary findings indicated the blast was the result of an Israeli airstrike near the school, which had been providing shelter for some 3,000 people. He said at least one U.N. staffer appeared to be dead.

    “We don’t have confirmed details yet but the initial report says that there was some kind of airstrike in a street outside one of our shelters,” Turner said.

    Witnesses said the attack happened while people were waiting in line for food supplies. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

    In a chaotic scene inside the compound of the U.N. school, several bodies, among them children, were strewn across the ground in puddles of blood. Bloody footprints stained the ground where people had rushed the wounded into ambulances.

    “Our trust and our fate is only in the hands of God!” one woman cried.

    Some of the wounded, among them children with bloody head bandages, were transported to the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah and others were treated in what seemed to be a makeshift clinic underneath a tent.

    Several dead bodies, wrapped in white cloth, were lined up on the floor.

    At least six U.N. facilities, including schools sheltering the displaced, have been struck by Israeli fire since the conflict began, drawing international condemnation. In each case Israel has said it was responding to militants launching rockets or other attacks from nearby.

    In nearly four weeks of fighting, more than 1,700 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed as well as nearly 70 Israelis, almost all soldiers.

    Israel launched an aerial campaign in Gaza on July 8 to try to halt Palestinian rocket fire that has reached major cities, and later sent in troops to dismantle a sophisticated system of cross-border tunnels built by the militants in order to carry out attacks.

    Israel struck several targets in Gaza on Sunday. Artillery shells slammed into two high-rise office buildings in downtown Gaza City and large explosions could be heard seconds apart, police and witnesses said. Al-Kidra said 30 Palestinians were killed Sunday, including nine in a single strike in the southern Gaza Strip. Israel said it carried out 180 strikes Sunday.

    While fighting continued, several Israeli tanks and other vehicles were seen leaving Gaza. In a televised address late Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested troops would reassess operations after completing the demolition of Hamas military tunnels under the border. Security officials said the tunnel mission was winding down.

    At the same time, Netanyahu warned the territory’s Hamas rulers that they would pay an “intolerable price” if militants continued to fire rockets at Israel and that all options remain on the table.

    The Israeli military death toll rose to 64 after Israel announced that Hadar Goldin, a 23-year-old infantry lieutenant feared captured in Gaza, was actually killed in battle. His funeral is later Sunday. Three civilians have been killed on the Israeli side since hostilities began.

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    July 19, 2014
    Madison Gaza Protest

     

    More photos at The International Socialist Organization (ISO) Facebook posts here and here.