In Gaza, UN summer programs allow children to just be kids

More than 130,000 Palestinian children and youth in Gaza have enrolled in summer camps operated by the UN to help them escape the pressures of living in a region that is frequently at war with Israel and subject to an economic embargo.
The youngsters from Palestine, including those with disabilities, will engage in a variety of activities over the course of four weeks, the agency stated, including recycling, athletics, drawing, handicrafts, and language study.

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A recent agency research, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), indicated that 38% of children in Gaza had functional impairment symptoms that interfered with their everyday life.

At least 290,000 pupils attend the 284 schools in Gaza that are run by UNRWA.

According to Thomas White, the director of UNRWA affairs in Gaza, “the most important thing is that 130,000 children get the opportunity just to be kids regardless of the economic situation, regardless of the ongoing conflict, they can come to summer weeks of UNRWA and just be children.”

Since 2008, Palestinians have seen multiple battles with Israel, including five days of warfare in May. According to local and international experts, this has made mending nearly difficult because the underlying causes have not altered.

They estimate that roughly a quarter of the 2.3 million people living in the enclave, who are subject to a crushing blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt, who both control and impose restrictions on the Gaza Strip’s borders, need mental health care.

“I came here to amuse myself away from the things I had to deal with, like the wars and battles I saw. Joanna El-Halabi, age 3, said to Reuters at one school in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, “I may not be like other kids (of the world), but I am trying to be cheerful no matter what happens.

According to UNRWA, the activity offers 3,000 temporary jobs to young people in Gaza.

In Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, the organization offers public services like as schools, primary healthcare, and humanitarian relief. It was founded in 1949, during the first Arab-Israeli war.