Our work is urgently needed because of the dire conditions in the Gaza Strip. Just 26 miles long and a few miles wide, it is home to two million Palestinians, more than half of them children. Over 70% are refugees who live in eight densely-crowded refugee camps. Young teenagers in the Gaza Strip have experienced three major Israeli military offensives – one lasting 51 days – and 14 years of being shut off from the wider world.
The massive physical and psychological injuries experienced by a civilian population with no place to hide, the devastation of land, homes, schools, clinics, infrastructure and the economy, and the ongoing suffocating siege are bound to have a lasting, dramatic impact on Gaza. In the Gaza Strip, individual and collective mental health are closely tied to the human rights abuses endured by Palestinians on a daily basis. To see why our work is so crucial, please view these short films.
We thank IMEU, Donkeysaddle Projects and Just Vision for providing the video footage.
- REMEMBERING THE GAZA WAR: Just Before Dawn Watch
- REMEMBERING THE GAZA WAR: Ibrahim’s Tree Watch
- REMEMBERING THE GAZA WAR: 7 Futures, Frozen Watch
- REMEMBERING THE GAZA WAR: Kifah’s Kindergarten Watch
- REMEMBERING THE GAZA WAR: A Family Erased Watch
A Decade of Distress: The harsh and unchanging reality for children living in the Gaza Strip
Children and young people in Gaza live in economic hardship, under the threat of further conflict and with little opportunity of escape.
This report describes a research project undertaken in 2018, led by Save the Children’s mental health professionals, that aimed to better understand how these conditions have affected children’s and young people’s mental health and well-being. PDF Report
The survey of 300 children, young people and caregivers in five governorates across Gaza revealed high levels of severe emotional distress, with many children and young people living in fear and having nightmares every time they slept. A key finding of the research is that while children and young people in Gaza are resilient, they are vulnerable to toxic stress and are at high risk of developing serious and long-term mental health issues.
More positively, a significant number of children and young people reported that their families are a key source of support in their current circumstances, and it is this that is holding them back from the brink of a mental health crisis. But caregivers say their capacity to support their children is being pushed to the limits by the blockade, chronic poverty and insecurity, and would most likely be utterly destroyed in the event of another conflict.
There is however still hope, and the report makes a number of recommendations for actions to be taken urgently by duty bearers, the international community, donors and humanitarian agencies working in Gaza.