Dr Al Fara will talk about the desperate need to help children in Gaza traumatised by war, and siege and seeing their parents and wider families devastated by Israeli aggression.
The grave situation in Gaza
The Gaza Strip is the most densely populated region in the world. Over 80 per cent of its people are refugees and their descendants, expelled from Palestine in the 1948 war that established the state of Israel. The majority of the 1.8 million residents are under the age of 15.
Israel’s attacks on Gaza in 2008/9 killed 1,473 Palestinians. Israel’s 2014 bombardment, lasting 51 days, reduced entire neighbourhoods to rubble and killed at least 2,100; of whom 539 were children.
According to UNICEF, 373,000 children in Gaza suffer from some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Additionally, 11,000 were injured, one third with permanent disabilities and more than 18,000 Palestinian homes were destroyed. Israel’s siege and the periodic bombardments of Gaza have prevented people rebuilding their lives. Many still live in tents and makeshift homes. Water and electricity are still only available for a few hours a day. For schools, hospitals, workshops, farms and homes to be restored Palestinians need international solidarity.
Khuza’a is a town of 10,000 inhabitants in the south east of the
Gaza Strip. It is situated only 500 metres from the border with Israel. In the 2009 attack, it was reported the Israeli army bulldozed houses in Khuza’a with their residents still inside, and civilians were shot when carrying white flags.
These accounts were corroborated by the Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tselem. Khuza’a was one of the three areas that suffered particularly badly during the 2014 Israeli attack on the
Gaza Strip. Hundreds of its civilians were killed and large areas of the town were wiped out. Some residents were used as human shields by the invading Israeli army. As a result, thousands of children are still traumatised and in need of psychological help.
Khuza’a is about six kilometres from the Never Stop Dreaming Project, which has been supported Sheffield PSC for many years.
It will manage and support the new project, with the help of the charity, Middle Eastern Children’s Alliance (MECA). Sheffield’s Yemeni community raised £9,600 towards the Centre’s construction, and a resident of Khuza’a has donated the
land for the building to be constructed on. The building work will be
finished by the Spring of 2018. The existing staff from the Never Stop Dreaming Project, that is already involved with the local community, will be provided with additional training to support children with post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Thanks for reading this. Please do come to our meeting
Saturday 6th May. There was a lively protest outside Sheffield Town Hall in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. We were joined by Paul Blomfield, MP (till a week ago and current candidate) for Sheffield Central constituency . The prisoners are on hunger strike over such things as jailed children, family visits restricted to one a year, and administrative detention (jail with no trial). For more information go here.
“I am proud of what we have done together” Mona El Farra in Gaza tells Julia South, our newsletter editor.
The Scholarship Fund is proud of what we have achieved in our first ten years, starting with three students in 2007 to supporting 39 in 2017-17. Our special 10th anniversary newsletter includes interviews with students who have graduated and how supporters of the Fund have raised money and awareness throughout the year.
With special thanks to Dr Mona El Farra and Wafaa El Derawi in Gaza and for Julia South in Sheffield for writing and editing the newsletter.
Hosted by the Lord Mayor, Denise Fox, with songs from Sheffield Socialist Choir, stories from our scholarship students, speeches from Sheffield PSC activist Musheir El Farra and Palestinian woman speaker Kholoud Al Ajarma on the power of women’s education.
All welcome to celebrate how Sheffield has shown its solidarity with Palestinian women students in Gaza, Palestine.
Our comrade and ex-Sheffield resident, Arwa, took 49 children from the hill of Tel Rumeida down into the Old City to celebrate Caroline Poland’s achievement of her Right to Roam walk
Caroline’s walk has been undertaken to show solidarity with those who live under the most repressive situations within Palestine, especially in the West bank, Jerusalem and Gaza.
Arwa, to achieve this short walk into Shuhada Street, had to cross two of the most notorious checkpoints where nine people have been killed in the last six months. The excitement of doing this simple walk shows in the children’s faces. Normally they have to stay inside because of the volatile situation.