Country: Rafah Governorate, Khan Younis Governorate, Gaza Governorate, Nord Gaza (Gaza Srip) Governorate, Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)

Donor: Local Technical Units

Period: 15 September 2015 – 15 May 2016.

Thematic Area: Protection and psychosocial support for persons who became disabled, and for children and families living in a condition of vulnerability, because of the conflict.

Local Partners: El Amal Rehabilitation Society.

Italian Partners: FISH (Italian Federation for Overcoming Handicap) and DPI Italy (Disabled People’s International).

General Objective: Improving the resilience of Palestinian population made vulnerable because of psychological and physical trauma suffered after the “Protective Edge” military operation.

Specific Objective: Strengthening the reaction to trauma in children and in the persons who became disabled after the military operation “Protective Edge”, through psychosocial support and peer-counselling.

Beneficiaries: 700 children between 3 and 5 years old and 300 children between 6 and 12 years old, enrolled in the most affected areas, who have suffered traumas because of the military conflict. Those children have reported injuries, psychological trauma or might have lost one or both parents.  1000 children and their parents benefit from social cohesion activities. Regarding psychosocial activities for disabled persons, the beneficiaries are 7 Community Based Organizations and Disabled People Organizations (DPO) with the involvement of 10 peer-counsellors; 300 disabled people who have acquired a permanent disability after the operation “Protective Edge”. The families of the children and the disabled persons involved in the projects are indirect beneficiaries.

Project Summary: The operation “Protective Edge” injured 1100 people, including 3374 children and 2088 women. From those injuries, many have acquired a permanent disability that has led to a sudden change in their lives: living with a disability in a context such as the Palestinian one means living in an adverse environment. The obstacles that people with disabilities face every day depend on the interaction between disabled people themselves and both physical and behavioral barriers. Disability is considered merely from a welfare and medical point of view; the Palestinian society in the Gaza Strip lacks socio-sanitary services able to provide psychological support to disabled people; society does not recognize or acknowledge disability.  As far as children are concerned, the main problems are the psychological stress caused by the military operations and the almost complete absence of child-friendly area in the south part of Gaza Strip.

The project aims at answering such needs though peer-to-peer training sessions, where persons with disability (experts from DPI and FISH) will teach 10 persons with disability, who in turn will offer psychosocial support to more than 300 other persons with disability. Moreover, child-friendly areas will be created to favor socialization, exchange, self-expression and the overcoming of trauma for 1000 children (both disabled and able-bodied) and their families, side-by-side with educators and psychologists.