UNRWA today held the official opening ceremony of the 2022 Gaza Summer Fun Weeks, which will run from 25 June to 28 July.
The ceremony was held at the UNRWA Jabalia Elementary Co-ed School B, and was attended by the head of UNRWA's Staff Affairs, Ben Majekodunmi, Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, Jennifer Austin, senior UNRWA staff, and representatives from local community organizations, sister agencies of the United Nations and NGOs. government operating in Gaza.
According to a study conducted by UNRWA in the aftermath of the May 2021 Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, the psychological consequences of exposure to war-related trauma have increased, leaving around 42 per cent of first-grade children surveyed in Gaza in need of psychological support. Even after nine months, about 35 per cent of these children suffered from trauma.
Summer Fun Weeks are one of the Agency's responses and interventions to help mitigate the psychological effects of recurring cycles of conflict and difficult living conditions resulting from 15 years of blockade.
Jennifer Austin said: "Like all children in the world, refugee children in Palestine have the right to enjoy their basic rights to live, learn and play in a safe and stimulating environment. This is not always guaranteed in Gaza, especially in the past 15 years of siege and destruction due to cycles of violence."
"For us, providing children with the necessary psychosocial support is a top priority," she continued. "Summer Fun Weeks are an essential component of our efforts to reintroduce a sense of security and stability in children's lives, and an outlet for enjoyment. We are really happy to see how much the kids are having fun."
Over 120,000 Palestine refugee children, including children with disabilities, will take part in the four week activity at 83 UNRWA sites across the Gaza Strip. Activities include gardening, recycling, sports, drawing and crafts, helping promote the social values of leadership, respect and cooperation.
The events also provide 2,750 short-term employment opportunities for Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA through the Job Creation Programme.