Dubai, UAE: An Dh11 million campaign has been launched in a bid to help rebuild the lives of tens of thousands of Palestinian children by helping them back into education.
Dubai Cares’ Rebuild Palestine Start with Education initiative, seeks to improve the educational infrastructure in Gaza and help 177,000 children.
The two-year programme will focus, in particular, on providing access to education and helping to alleviate the psychological impact caused by the military conflict this summer.
“We need to wake up to the situation in Gaza and prepare for the long-term impact of the current uncertain and volatile situation on its children,” said Tariq Al Gurg, chief executive of Dubai Cares.
“Palestine’s youngest citizens have suffered severe physical and psychological trauma over the course of the military conflict and the large-scale destruction of the educational infrastructure is going to further impair their futures.
“The time has come for the international community to mobilise resources and ensure that schools have the capacity and the right capabilities to offer them quality education, and that is why we have launched Rebuild Palestine Start with Education.
“Through this programme, which concentrates on bolstering educational infrastructure while supporting the psycho-social rehabilitation of the children, we aim to ensure that the children in Gaza have access to quality education.
“This means building up sound infrastructure and developing the relevant curricula, as well as investing in teachers so that they can assist students dealing with trauma to develop coping mechanisms, thus successfully settling them back into their educational routines.”
Gaza has been devastated by a continuous Israeli blockade and the recent land and air campaign, with the education sector particularly badly affected.
Dubai Cares is working in partnership with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to counter the impact of the conflict.
As part of the initiative, the 175,809 children enrolled in 151 UNRWA schools will get weekly arts and sports classes by specially trained teachers.
The classes will involve psycho-social counselling through arts and sports, as well as giving training to help teachers.
A further 1,620 pupils at these schools will also be given counselling on how to cope with and ease their distress. This will be done on an individual basis so that children will be able deal with their specific needs.
About 1,500 children will be given access to primary and junior secondary education through the building of a 20-classroom school, including furniture, water and sanitation.
“Palestine already had significant systemic issues affecting the quality of education,” said Mr Al Gurg. “The additional limits on finances, the growing student population and the ongoing political instability, has led to the educational process in the country to take a serious pounding.
“However, Palestinian children need the security of education to grow their skill set and rise above the challenges they face today.”
© The National