Normal life is a distant memory for children in Gaza

 

Children here in Gaza are still suffering terribly. Literally thousands have been injured. Many more have been traumatised by the horrors they have seen and experienced.

Seven-year old Maha was paralysed from the neck down in an airstrike that killed her mum, dad and four sisters. Doctors at al-Shifa hospital say she now needs urgent surgery abroad – but instead of getting the immediate attention she deserves, she and her family have had to wait several weeks to see if she could leave Gaza. Can you imagine if this was your child?

Another child I’ve met is little Mohammed, aged just three-years old. He was sheltering in a school with his family when it was shelled. He received a nasty head injury – but like so many children here, he’s also been badly hurt in emotional ways that are much less easy to see.

Mohammed sits quietly on a cot with his head wrapped in bandages. He is now afraid to go to sleep because of the night terrors he suffers. Photo: State of Palestine, 2014, d’Aki
Mohammed sits quietly on a cot with his head wrapped in bandages. He is now afraid to go to sleep because of the night terrors he suffers. Photo: State of Palestine, 2014, d’Aki

For children here normal life is a distant memory, their homes and schools are destroyed. Many are withdrawn, not wanting to let their parents out of sight, not sleeping, suffering nightmares and depression.

Just last week, for instance, I met 14-year old Razan. She told me that she would prefer to die quickly from the bombs than endure the suffering of a slow death under occupation, with little hope for a normal future of opportunity and freedom. Isn’t it tragic that someone so young should be feeling so much hopelessness?

But, with your help, we can give children like Razan, Maha and Mohammed hope. We can provide them with the support they need to overcome their traumas.

We have teams on the ground who have created safe spaces for children. These are places where children can come to recover from the trauma they have experienced. They can play and paint and just be children again. Trained counsellors are also there to help children through their suffering.

Through all this work, I’m convinced we can help children recover from everything they’ve been though.

We have the help ready but we need to do more, to give more children hope and help them look forward to a better future. There are so many more children like Razan, Maha and Mohammed who are relying on us for hope and help. If you can help please do so today.

 

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