Prior to the devastating war fought between the Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas in early May, about 80 percent of the population in Gaza — about 1.85 million people — relied on donor-funded relief programs to cover their basic needs. The incessant bombing of the strip, considered among the most densely populated territories in the world, exacerbated the grave humanitarian situation there, scarring hundreds of thousands of children and their families.
In response, CNEWA launched an emergency appeal to support those partners in Gaza directly engaged in helping those most traumatized. Thus far, generous benefactors have directed some $250,000 to our Jerusalem-based team.
Emergency funds will rehabilitate the Rosary Sisters School, damaged in the war, enabling 1,000 school children to return to school in the autumn. Funds will help repair the YMCA center and nursery, which serve Christian and Muslim families. Emergency aid will cover the costs of minor repairs to 24 damaged homes of families in Gaza.
Additionally, thousands of children and their parents are benefitting from psychosocial programs and activities over the course of 2021, in collaboration with the YMCA and AISHA, a women-headed organization specialized in psychosocial therapy for children and adults. This effort will help both children and adults diagnose and treat PTSD and other forms of psychological trauma, helping them along their road to recovery, better mental health and well-being.
Laura Schau-Tarazi is the grants and reports writer for CNEWA’s Pontifical Mission team in Jerusalem.