The Violence of Poverty and Siege on Children
April 22, 2022
Almost half of Gaza’s population is under the age of 18. Gaza’s children have been living in an ‘unliveable’ open air prison and have grown up under a brutal siege and faced large scale bombardments. It is estimated that after last May’s assault on Gaza, 91% of the children in Gaza suffer from PTSD and many struggle with anxiety and depression.
The adults around them are struggling and this makes it even harder for children. With rocketing unemployment and worsening poverty, adults are unable to provide what their children need.
Rula is just 11 years old but she is aware of the struggles her mother, Saffa, goes through to feed and care for her 14 member family. Rula is an excellent student and wants to go to university so she can get a job and help her mother, but she is also aware that poverty has already harmed her family. Their home is unsafe and her father needs medications that they struggle to afford. We provided the family with support in food vouchers and she cried as her mother told us:
We just ate beans this Ramadan. I have debts from the local supermarket and rely on my neighbours for food. Your food voucher comes at the right time! Thank you.
My children grow up and see we face such hardships. I advise them to be grateful and things will get better inshAllah.– Saffa, mother of 14
Our team were concerned for Rula’s well-being after she cried and they noted that for children, feeling poor harms their self-esteem, their ability to dream and achieve and it also causes trauma and anxiety.
Ahmed is only 7 years old and despite having a bright smile, he is living with a rare chronic illness that affects his daily life. He has often been hospitalised for long periods of time and the daily medications he needs are beyond his parents’ capacity. His father struggles to find regular work and they are reliant on Ahmed’s sponsorship with IF Charity to help care for his needs. Ahmed’s condition makes it hard for him to live like other 7 year old children, but he also must witness his parents struggle and knows that his family are struggling.
For children like Ahmed and Rula, life has begun in struggle and their ability to achieve better health, better opportunities and happiness is curtailed by poverty and life in Gaza.
IF Charity will continue to work to support children and address their immediate and long term needs. As the humanitarian crisis worsens and needs grow, it is vital we do not lose this generation to the trauma of poverty, violence and siege. We can only do this with your help.