13-year old Ahmed says he feels very sad that school did not resume at the end of August as planned. His favourite subject is mathematics; he would love to become a Maths professor. For the time being, he spends his days playing football, and his nights playing cards in Gaza.
Ahmed recalls how, while fleeing his house during the 50-day war, he and his siblings had to carry one of his brothers who lost a leg in the previous war. He says he could not stop praying that a bomb would not fall and hit them all.
Now that a ceasefire has taken hold, Ahmed would like an older brother to hold the big wedding party he had planned just before the war started, and get married at last.
Ahmed hopes for peace. He dreams of visiting Jerusalem and the West Bank, but says he is not interested in traveling the world. “I would love to stay here. I also wish that people could come and discover Gaza, and see what we went through during the war.”
As the ceasefire allows for more intensive assessments to be conducted, it is clear that the scale of damage is unprecedented in the Gaza Strip. 244 schools are damaged and 22 schools destroyed. The start of the school year has been postponed.
UNICEF is preparing children in Gaza to go back to school by providing school supplies – as well as the counselling they need before they can begin to learn again – but we only have one quarter of the funding needed to help every child.