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.
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.