Families in Gaza have been left devastated in the aftermath of the worst violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 2014. The latest bombing has killed 253 Palestinians and left almost 2,000 in need of medical aid, and many others are still missing. Infrastructure has been badly damaged and thousands of vulnerable families are homeless. Our team in Gaza are continuing to do all they can to support affected families, by providing them with essential supplies such as bedding, hygiene items and cash vouchers.
We are also working to support Palestinians with early-recovery interventions in the aftermath of the latest escalation of conflict. Islamic Relief is calling for international action to end the occupation, which is ultimately the only way to bring lasting peace. But in the meantime aid is urgently needed to support rebuilding damaged infrastructure, strengthening health and electricity networks and providing psychosocial support.
The children of Gaza
Sadly, the recent bombing has had a devastating effect on children in Gaza. 66 of those who have lost their lives were children, and many more children have been seriously injured. Children have been left traumatised by the conflict, destruction of their homes and loss of loved ones and they are in urgent need of medical aid and psychological support.
To make matters worse, children’s education has been badly disrupted as a result of the violence and the bombing has caused damage to 66 schools across Gaza. Many schools were also used as shelter during the violence, as airstrikes destroyed homes, forcing terrified, traumatised families to flee. Schools in Gaza had already been closed since 8 April due to a second wave of Covid-19, and the recent violence will now cause even more disruption to children’s learning.
Children and young people have already faced enormous challenges in Gaza. Years of conflict, blockade and poverty have prevented many from going to school, whilst soaring youth employment leaves many young people unable to earn a reliable living.
Islamic Relief is committed to raising the educational prospects of Palestinian children. Our work includes improving the learning environment in Gaza’s schools and we have trained hundreds of teachers and principals. We are also supporting schools with access to better facilities including clean water, and rebuilding schools in need of repair, while our counselling services have helped tens of thousands of children cope with the challenges of growing up in Gaza.
Supporting Bisan School
With your help, we now have plans to support schools in the aftermath of the recent violence.
One of our previous projects included supporting Bisan Private School in Gaza. It offers an education to children living with disabilities, providing them with the extra support they need to flourish.
Last year a gas explosion 50 metres from the school caused fires which burnt down classrooms. The school, which was already in dire need of maintenance work, became too dangerous to attend.
“We stopped working due to the destruction that happened as a result of the accident. It was challenging to continue the school year as the students needed emotional support and the buildings needed to be repaired. The fire had destroyed everything, including the offices, tables, and teachers’ chairs”, says Samah, a teacher at the school.
Islamic Relief assessed the impact that the fire had on the school, and began work to repair the damage.
We rebuilt classrooms and offices, replaced windows, provided the school with electricity, repainted the classrooms, and equipped the school with essential classroom furniture, such as chairs.
We also provided the school with electronic devices such as laptops and a photocopier, which has allowed the school to practice e-learning amid the Covid-19 pandemic, so that pupils’ education is not disrupted.
Islamic Relief also built a new laboratory in the school.
“Our dream has come true because we have a laboratory, along with various teaching aids, , and a laptop. This will help students with hearing disabilities to learn better, as they can apply their learning practically inside the laboratory.
“We used to feel depressed when we visited the school because we could see the black smoke on the walls and smell it everywhere. Now, the walls are painted beautiful colours and we have comfortable furniture for both the teachers and the students. All of this has helped us to feel that the school has been brought to life again, thanks to the incredible effort of Islamic Relief”, says Samah.
We need your support
Islamic Relief’s child welfare programmes transform the lives of many vulnerable children. We sponsor over 7,000 orphaned children in Gaza, giving their families a regular stipend towards their basic needs and schooling.
Seeing education as essential to building a brighter future, we improve access to quality preschool and education and support schools with water, sanitation and hygiene interventions. Child protection is an important feature of all our work in Gaza and we also provide vital counselling and support services to vulnerable children.
With your support, we will remain by the sides of vulnerable Palestinians during this latest crisis. Please donate to our Palestine Emergency Appeal now to support our vital work.