GAZA STRIP, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 17 August 2011 – Ayman, 15, lives in Khuza’a, an impoverished village in southern Gaza, where extreme poverty has dramatically increased due to the blockade. For Ayman, whether or not he’s able to go to school each day is determined by how much food is left in the cupboards.
“Every morning, the first thing I do is go to the kitchen,” he said. “If there is food, I go to school; if there is none, I go to work.”
NEW YORK, USA, – The recent Gaza conflict left about 1,000 Palestinian civilians dead and many more injured. Children, who make up more than half of Gaza’s population, have born the brunt of the conflict and its aftermath.
NEW YORK, 26 January 2009 – With the return of hundreds of thousands of children to school in Gaza, UNICEF is providing essential educational equipment and materials to re-establish learning and recreational activities, create safe environments, and help restore a sense of normalcy for children in Gaza.
JERUSALEM, 23 January 2009 – The recent and extreme levels of conflict in Gaza have affected the lives of some 800,000 children and young people. Many have lost their schools, health facilities, play areas and even neighbourhoods, which have been destroyed in the violence.
AMMAN, Jordan, 8 April 2008 – Ayman is a soft-spoken 14-year-old boy from Jabalia City, Gaza. His family is poor, as his father has been unemployed since March 2006. Ayman’s parents have already sold almost all their furniture to pay for food and schooling for their children. Recently, after collecting a governmental food handout, Ayman’s father had to sell the milk to get the money for the journey back home.
Ayman works very hard in school. He dreams of a future career. But with 47 students in his cramped classroom and double shifts the norm, his learning environment is very stressful. Home is no refuge: The recent incursion of Jabalia was 200 metres from where Ayman lives. The shooting and shelling so terrorized his five-year-old sister that she still wakes up screaming in the night.
Ayman’s experience is all too familiar in Gaza’s crowded, crippled neighbourhoods, where those who are least to blame for the troubles are the ones who are suffering most. Indeed, among Gaza’s 840,000 children, out of which 588,000 are refugees, Ayman has a luckier story than many.