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Crisis in Gaza

Christian Aid is continuing to support its local partner organisations in Gaza. They desperately need funds to respond to the dire humanitarian situation.
 
For more info, and to help us by donating what you can, please visit the main Christian Aid website.

Click here for Living in a crisis,  oursecondary school assembly on the crisis. It includes a photo presentation suitable for use with youth groups.

Girls in science lab run by Christian Aid partner

Beating the blockade with Facebook

More than half the population of Gaza is under 18 - a generation who has grown up knowing nothing but conflict. Turned in on itself and embattled, Gaza is sadly becoming a more conservative and extremist society; a difficult place to grow up.

Most young people have never left the Strip, 25 miles long by four to eight miles wide. But a group of Palestinian schoolgirls are using Facebook to communicate with the outside world.

Since 1992, Christian Aid’s partner organisation the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) has been providing a safe space to play, psycho-social trauma counselling, and opportunities for personal development to Gazan teenagers.

Ayat Sakka, 15, goes to CFTA’s youth centre almost every day. ‘Before I came to the centre my only society was my mother, father, my sister and two brothers,’ she says. ‘I was even scared of my father. There’s no person in Gaza who doesn’t see violence or hear the bombs fall. I was scared to leave the house.’

CFTA was able to help Ayat through counselling and support. ‘Now I have come here, I feel brave to go and talk to anyone,’ she says. This once-shy teenager is now acting as a mediator in her own community.  ‘If a family doesn’t want a girl to come to the centre, I can go to the house and tell them more about us so we understand each other.’

And, like any other teenager, Ayat uses the internet. ‘We chat on MSN messenger, we go on Facebook. I chat with my friends here, and my friends and relatives outside Gaza. It’s the only way to talk to my friends outside.’

Since the recent violence in Gaza, we’ve heard from Ayat and her friends via Facebook. They have lived through fear and witnessed scenes of violence and destruction that will stay with them forever.

The director of CFTA, Majeda Al Saqqa, says that ‘since the recent violence children are too afraid to play on their own, and remain in groups together for safety’. Helping them cope with emotions of fear, anger and despair is critical - not only for the young people themselves - but for the hope of a future peace between Palestinians and Israelis.