Hamza and Assil are able to play again

Hamza (10), his sister Assil (6) and their mother Randa, live in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Last summer they had to move into their aunt’s house because of the airstrikes of Israeli warplanes. “I was afraid, we were scared that our house would be bombed,” recalls Hamza.

Hamza and Assil now go to a rehabilitated playground run by Sama al Shamal, a partner organisation of War Child in Beit Lahya, in northern Gaza. The playground provides a Safe Space where children can play and begin to process their experiences.

Relearning to play

Randa remembers how traumatised her children were and how the playground, in combination with psychosocial activities, helped them a lot. Randa: “It’s like a new life for the children. They speak more, tell me about their activities and what they like.”

Psychosocial support

Tamer is one of the youth leaders of the project. Youth leaders are young people that are trained by War Child and partners to develop and implement sporty, playful and creative activities for children in their neighbourhoods. Tamer: “The children need these activities, especially after the war. They need to think of other things besides the war and violence. We do simple games with them, and they draw, dance, sing and play.”

Through War Child’s I DEAL programme the children work on their self-confidence, they learn to deal with stress and how to cope with their experiences. Tamer: “At the beginning the children were hyper and more aggressive, but through the programme their behaviour improved.”

Hamza loves to play basketball, a sport almost unheard of in the Gaza Strip. Assil prefers the trampoline and the slide. They both know exactly what they want to become when they grow up and smile when they answer: “I want to become an engineer,” exclaims Hamza. Assil is shyer in his response, but equally determined: “I want to become a doctor, to help others.”

Read more on the situation and the work of War Child in occupied Palestinian territory.