“Let the Children Play & Heal” in Gaza

We are dealing with children who lost their homes or relatives. It’s still very hard. They isolate themselves. Some are very angry and some can’t focus. Others have night terrors and most are not doing well in school. We work closely with the whole family. We work with these children and help them to taste childhood again. —Khulud Salam, “Play & Heal” psychologist

This ongoing psychosocial support program brings trained volunteers and psychologists to schools and community centers to lead games and creative activities; advise teachers parents and community leaders; and make referrals for children and families who need additional support.

Childhood in Gaza

Palestinian children and families in Gaza are living every day with the aftermath of the 2014 seven-week Israeli assault on the entire population, which killed more than 500 children, injured thousands and left virtually every child in Gaza suffering from psychological distress. The attack and its lasting impact comes on top of a devastating blockade, now in its tenth year, previous attacks, and decades of occupation and dispossession.

Location: Gaza Strip, Palestine

The Gaza Strip is home to approximately 1.9 million people, including 1.3 million Palestine refugees. For the last decade, the socioeconomic situation in Gaza has been in steady decline due primarily to the blockade on land, air, and sea imposed by Israel since 2007. The blockade—or siege— continues to severely restrict the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza. The economy has been devastated, resulting in the impoverishment and de-development of a highly skilled and well-educated society. The average unemployment rate is well over 41 per cent – one of the highest in the world. Over half a million Palestine refugees in Gaza live in eight extremely overcrowded Palestine refugee camps.

In July 2014, Israel began its third major attack on Gaza within seven years with intense Israeli aerial and navy bombardment. The scale of human loss, destruction, devastation and displacement was catastrophic. More than 2,000 Palestinians were killed, including over 500 children. Many more suffered physical and psychological injuries.

MECA Project Partners

Afaq Jadeeda Association
Never Stop Dreaming Association
Union of Palestinian Women's Committees