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Islamic Relief: The Trauma of Gaza’s Children

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By Sana Khan

 

While bombs fell mercilessly on the Gaza strip during the recent offensive, a young boy cried helplessly for his mother in an overcrowded and panic-stricken hospital. The crying finally subsided, when he was brought to sit next to his mother, and patiently waited for her to wake up. Little did he realize that his mother had passed away.

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What will be the fate of this young boy, and many others like him that have had to witness the death of a parent, relative, sibling, or friend? What affect will the fragile social climate have on his upbringing, where poverty, injustice, severe depravation are widespread, in one of the most volatile regions on earth?

According to a recent report by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), stress-related and mental health disorders are on the rise in the Gaza strip. As a result of the occupation, children are suffering from increased levels of sleep problems, feelings of fear and anxiety, cognitive and emotional disorders, and a decreasing hope in the future.

In an interview with Reuters, Psychiatrist Hasan Zeyada stated that the constant exposure to shocking violence has left many children suffering from trauma and all that it entails—bed wetting, nightmares, flashbacks and fear of going out in public, to name a few. “Part of this is related to our culture and religion, which values sacrifice and duty. The other part is a kind of denial. It’s normal to be scared, but in the messages children have watched and heard, they’re taught just to show strength.”

Zeyada, Manager of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program also stated that, “In a situation like Gaza’s, the best families and the community can do for children is to keep them close and go about life as normally as possible.”

From the occupation of Muslim lands to the dire poverty our fellow brothers and sisters face, the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) reminds us of the vital connection we have with Muslims around the world- that the Ummah is like one body; if one member becomes sick, the other members of this body will take care of the sick one:

“The Believers, in their mutual love, mercy and compassion, are like one body: if one organ complained, the rest of the body develops a fever.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

As Muslims, we have followed the spirit of this hadith by providing for the physical and financial needs of our brothers and sisters in emergency situations. When addressing these needs however, we have seemed to overlook the growing emotional and psychological needs of fellow Muslims in struggling parts of the world.  More than anything, these children need a safe place for healing and emotional support to be able to overcome these problems and continue to live normal, productive lives.

The Project

The Islamic Relief (IR) team has been providing psychosocial support for the children in eastern Gaza for 2.5 years with donor funding that is expected to end in March 2013. Due to the near constant barrage of rocket fire and airstrikes over the recent days of hostilities, the long-term operation of this program is more necessary than ever before.

With your help, IR wishes to secure funds to extend the period of this center by an additional 2 years, to provide the needed psychosocial support to the children in eastern Gaza.

For more information or to contribute please visit:

http://www.indiegogo.com/gazavictims

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Islamic Relief: The Trauma of Gaza’s Children | Occupied Palestine | Scoop.it

  2. Pingback: Islamic Relief: The Trauma of Gaza’s Children | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

  3. Ramadan

    January 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    حسبن الله ونعم الوكيل

  4. David Duncan

    January 22, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    What a gut wrenching, heart breaking story. May the peace of Christ fill the hearts of Gaza children as they daily withstand the terrorization of the Israeli hatred. May Christ hold these precious children in his everlasting arms.

  5. magida

    May 11, 2013 at 5:29 AM

    what’s the name of this orphelina? plzz i have a research nd i can’t find a thing..

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