Report: Jul-Dec 2013
Children in Crisis- Gaza Palestine
PBBY project in Gaza was significant because it was implemented at a most difficult period of tight siege on Gaza, with extreme shortage of food, electricity and fuel. Things got worse with severe weather and flooding. In addition to sufferings this meant a disruption of daily life and of work. Commodities got more expensive. Work that needed electricity was delayed like writing repots and down loading pictures or cutting the wire for the playground etc...It was supported by the United Palestinian Appeal (UPA)
However, we are pleased to say that the project was very successful taking all the odds. Work in the library presumed very well. The library is a safe haven for children and a place they love.
The workshops were successfully implemented. The outcomes reflect this success whether in the writings of the children or their illustrations. We already translated some of the writings/stories of the children and shared them on our UPA page and the rest are in Arabic if requested. Some of these stories were nicely illustrated according to a story board in harmony with the text. The animation workshop and story discussions witnessed also a very good interaction from the children. We hope to have a short film from these sessions.
For our supervision we requested a full report from each trainer which is available for any query.
Feedback from the trainer of animation and book discussions we include feedback from children:
When I went to the library I thought I will not find any child in the library as it was extremely cold with no heating or electricity to my surprise the no. was large of both girls and boys.
As more books were discussed the atmosphere became full of warmth and enthusiasm. Each time I find that the number of children has increased, as the children told their friends who were happy to joining the library. Some of the stories that had social connotations proved that the children were starting to express themselves frankly.
The library and book discussion allows children to express their thoughts, their feelings and their agonies. It is a real therapy, stress release or what we call Bibliotherapy. The children in the library commented in their discussion of the story When the Golden Fish Stopped Dancing that deals with the theme of war, and siege, without mentioning Gaza in name, and also pictures beautifully the solidarity of the children of the world by insisting and saying:
The children said that “this is us, we cannot leave Gaza, all the borders are closed. We have no food no water no electricity and basic life necessities. We cannot be happy like the children of the world, go out to play and go to the sea without being afraid to be killed by Israeli assaults. We know children of the world have no fault in that, but they transmit our voice to the world!”
Success stories and children reflection on the library and activities:
Asil Adbul ‘Al: I enjoyed the Creative Writing Training Course so much and I started to love reading and writing stories. I now joined the Friends of the Library.
Nariman al-Hissi: I joined the library in al -Shawka Women Center. Now I read stories mostly after I joined the Creative Writing Training Course which helped me to express myself better. All my life I dreamt of writing a story and now I am wring my own!
Isa al-Hissi: In Al-Shawka village we suffer a lot and we also rejoice a lot. The lack of services in the area and even the school is far away from where we live which make us walk a lot. This is our situation which I wanted to express in my story!
Naji Abu Subla says: I play football and I love sports. While going to al-Shawka Library I joined the Drawing Group where I learned how to draw. With the help of our trainer Sami al-Salami we imagined scenes from stories and drew them. That was my first experience to draw several drawings with artistic value I loved it! I drew with others the Lazy Rooster.
The creative writing and illustrations trainers explained to the children that it is very important that they read many books to be able to write creatively and nicely and improve their illustrations. They reported to us that the children were very responsive and started to be more attracted to books.
There was delay in the construction of the Playground because of the worsening situation in Gaza as mentioned before and the increase in the rate of material and expenses. However the work is seriously going on as the pictures sent indicate.
The success story in this context is the determination of the local community, the library team and library youth to bring the playground to life and not allow the shortage of some money to stop this dream! So there is an enthusiastic volunteering to cover for some non- professional labour as you can see in the pictures.
Click on pictures below to view them in larger size.