More than half of the population of Gaza is under the age of 18. For these 800,000 boys and girls, daily life is characterised by conflict, poverty, loss of hope, and little freedom of choice or movement.
In the densely-populated Gaza Strip, there is little time or space for children to have fun or escape their harsh living conditions through sports, drama or creative arts.
In 2013, UNRWA will aim to change that with the Summer Fun Weeks, a set of activities for 150,000 children that will provide a safe place for children to play and learn the universal values of human rights, tolerance and gender equality.
The Summer Fun Weeks will counter the negative impact of pervasive violence, isolation, and loss of hope; all of which are the result of the ongoing occupation and closure of Gaza.
One hundred UNRWA schools throughout Gaza will offer boys and girls a week of sports, games and education over the summer period, aiming to:
The activities will include sports such as football, volleyball, and swimming along with popular and traditional games from slides and trampolines to flying kites. The activities will encourage important social values such as leadership, respect and cooperation, friendship, and creativity.
Crucially, the Summer Fun Weeks will provide children with a safe place to play, psychological relief from the circumstances in which they live, and most importantly a chance just to be children; free of the adult-sized worries and pressures so prevalent in Gaza. The Summer Fun Weeks will ensure psychosocial support for children at a time when it is most needed, after the recent conflict, providing an opportunity for the children of Gaza to enjoy themselves and learn new skills.
What‘s more, the Summer Fun Weeks will promote gender equality in Gaza, offering girls an often-denied opportunity to participate in sports and recreational activities, with a unique and safe space within which to engage in physical activity.
You can help make the project possible by making a donation to the Gaza Summer Fun Weeks.
“This event is so necessary; I mean, the situation being what it is here, children and families really need a break and more of these activities.
“Here the kids can play, and laugh, and be happy… and we’re happy for them.”
Khalid Abu Ramadan, father, Gaza
“Every day, my son comes home so excited. He says ‘Mama, look, I’ll show you what I did today’. The kids really enjoyed the whole experience.”
Umm Shadi, mother, Gaza
Read more Gaza parents’ praise for UNRWA’s summer fun programme