Rafah Children in the Samira Project at the Rachel Corrie Memorial Library. (Photo: Jeff Bright)
for Traumatized Children
The Gaza Strip, one of the poorest and most densely populated places on earth, has been described as the world’s largest open-air prison. For nearly eleven years it has been tightly sealed off by the Israeli/Egyptian siege, which drastically restricts human travel as well as imports and exports. As a result at least 80% of the people live under the poverty line. Unemployment is around 43% while youth unemployment is over 60%. The educational system is overcrowded, unstable and inconsistent. Public services have been weakened more and more, especially psycho-social support and other programs serving mainly women and children. This situation has been made even worse by the continuing conflict between Fatah and Hamas, which means that public employees like teachers often go unpaid.
On top of this policy of imprisonment and siege, the people of Gaza are subjected to frequent Israeli military land and sea attacks, which sometimes turn into full-scale assaults and invasions. In 2014, your US tax dollars helped pay for a 50 day Israeli bombardment of Gaza that killed hundreds of children and severely injured thousands more. Entire families were wiped out, and every child in Gaza knows someone who was killed, injured or made homeless or destitute. The UN estimates that as a result, the number of repeatedly and severely traumatized Gaza children who need psychological support and healing is in the hundreds of thousands.
- More on the Samira Project:
Samira Project Children’s Counseling – completed September 2015
Samira Counseling Photos, November 2015
A Samira Project Success Story, March 2016
SAMIRA PROJECT FOR TRAUMATIZED CHILDREN!
Clip and Mail:
Enclosed is my Samira Project contribution:
_______ $ 50 to help buy art and paper supplies for one month
_______ $250 to employ one of eight teachers for one month
_______ $150 to employ an activities coach or the caretaker for one month
_______ $250 to pay for a field trip for the students
_______ $300 to employ the Project Coordinator or Social Worker for one month
_______ I wish to make a general contribution to the project of $____________.
Children have been affected more than others because every aspect of their lives, especially the education system, has been repeatedly disrupted if not destroyed. Psychologically, the negative impact on children is enormous: nightmares, racing thoughts, nail-biting, panic attacks, uncontrolled urination, violent behavior and hyperactivity are common symptoms. It is estimated that at least 30 percent of all children in Gaza are so severely affected that they require some form of structured psycho-social intervention.
For the second time, the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project (MRSCP) is partnering with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) and the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice to fund The Samira Project in Rafah, a city and refugee camp at the southern edge of the Gaza strip. The project, organized by the Rafah branch of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), employs special education teachers and a social worker to provide 150 economically disadvantaged and learning-disabled children age six to twelve and their families with five months of psychosocial support. There are presently no educational institutions in Rafah City for these children, who face psychological issues without support. As a result, their educational level is very low and their drop-out rate is rising.
The Samira Project intervenes to develop the children’s skills and increase their ability to learn (especially reading, writing and mathematics); to support them psychologically and socially and rebuild their confidence; to implement scientific solutions to learning disabilities and reduce violent and disruptive behavior; to train families to better support their children; and to create job opportunities for qualified professionals in this field. Field trips, a children’s library and activities such as theater, music, art and reading will help the staff to understand the children and create a space for the children to express their feelings.
The total cost of this project for the current phase is $15,800. MECA has pledged $10,000, the organizers have secured $500, Rachel Corrie Foundation has pledged $2000, and MRSCP needs to raise $3,300 by April, 2017 so that the project can be fully funded.
Please consider a donation to The Samira Project. Specific items that you can provide, and directions for making your contribution, are listed on the coupon below.
As always, we thank you for your support as we work to mitigate the results of our nation’s disastrous Middle East foreign policy, and ultimately to change that policy toward one that supports peace with justice, equality and human rights for all.