Art and Storytelling in Gaza

The longer someone goes without food the hungrier they become. The same can be said of someone who goes without work. They are denied their very basic needs; food, shelter, protection, stability, and freedom from fear. Unfortunately, this is all too common in Gaza. The effects of the blockade have led to a consistent decline in the socioeconomic conditions of the population in Gaza creating underdevelopment, severe poverty, and unemployment rates the highest in the world according to the World Bank. Young teenagers are forced to leave school prematurely in order to find work and help support their families.

Understanding everything from the basic needs to the complex issues facing Gazans is integral to reconstructing hope for these communities. KinderUSA is in its second year working with our partner, Tamer Institute for Community Education. The project works directly with a network of community libraries and parents to provide a safe, free environment for children and young adults to protect them from the political, social, and economic circumstances that surround their daily existence. While the library offers knowledge, perhaps more importantly, it opens the door to a wide world through books to alleviate stress, enable coping with traumatic experiences, and foster well-being.

The work that Tamer Institute is doing with KinderUSA allows for creative expression to bring together similar ideas and values through art while encouraging mother and child to work together reestablishing relationships. It’s our goal to promote learning, literacy, and psycho-social well-being for the child, and assist in the underlying depression of the parents, through storytelling, reading, writing and expressive arts. By engaging both children and parents in this process, it is our hope that families will understand the importance of encouraging their children to remain in school as higher educational attainment provides a better future of all.

“Engaging families in creative art and literacy promotion will promote a healthy approach to overcoming the challenges faced by the people of Gaza,” said Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, Board Chair.

Please join us in helping children to flourish and allow them and their families a chance to heal. The project supports five public libraries across Gaza that serve 1,900 children and youth as well as 400 caregivers and goes through the summer.