In Gaza, families live under strict siege of land, sea, and air blockade, limiting the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza. Further, funding cuts to UNRWA coupled with frequent military attacks have disproportionately affected children’s physical and psychological well-being.
During Ramadan, KinderUSA implemented a program for children from 8 of the most marginalized areas of Gaza. Our goal was to reach 1400 children, but when parents heard of the program, they pleaded with representatives to include their children as “they have nothing here.” In the end, 1950 children participated in a month of activities that included a meal to break fast at the close of each day.
Children ranged in age from 7-15 who come from families with no income, makeshift housing, and have no safe play areas. From story-telling to basketball, young coordinators were paid a stipend to bring 4 hours a day of fun filled activity for these children. “Many of the children did not eat all their food, taking it home to their families who did not have such a meal”, said Ahmed, a coordinator. “Most of the children were nervous at first. Their families cannot afford taking them to special places, like a garden or sports club because they are very poor and consider playing games a luxury, not a basic need.” “Children have an inherent right to play, and to think children are growing up with belief that play is a luxury informs all of us, we must do better,” said Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, Chairperson KinderUSA.
KinderUSA is continuing this program through the summer so children will know that playing is not a luxury, but a right. Please consider making an online donation today to help us continue this program through the brutally hot summer days in Gaza.