P B B Y

IBBY Children in Crisis Fund

Thursday 25 February 2021 by Rania

Project Submitted by Palestinian Board on Books for Young People / PBBY

Contact Persons: Jehan Helou - President
Mary Fasheh - Vice president

IBBY Children in Crisis Fund

PBBY Project

The IBBY Fund for Children in Crisis exists to use books, reading and story telling to help children whose lives are disrupted by natural disaster, war, or civil disruption.

Human history, all along, has endured the horror of wars resulting in human loss and sufferings. However, modern wars with its sophisticated weaponry witness a huge surge in the loss of civilian lives, with children as main victims of these destructive wars. Around two million of the world youngest have died as a direct result of armed conflict in the last decade only. Millions of children have been seriously injured or permanently disabled.

Palestinian children are a stunning example of unjustifiable sufferings of children, where the United Nations did not use its mandate not put an end to it. Palestinian children are the victims of the tragic dispossession of the Palestinian people in 1948 and a long ruthless occupation. Moreover, though the UN has passed hundreds of resolutions affirming the restoration of the Palestinian Inalienable National Rights, or, condemning Israeli violations of Human Rights and International Law, very little was done to implement these resolutions because of the US unconditional support to Israel.

It has been one century now, generation after generation, the Palestinians have been enduring tremendous violations of their basic human rights. Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), face daily structural terrorism which affects adversely their lives, health, education, economy and even social fabric and relations. Palestinians suffer from killings, house demolishing, detention, confiscation and engraving of land, uprooting of trees and closures and checkpoints. According to OCHA there are more than 504 check points and barriers obstructing movement, as a result of the Annexation Wall, closures, and flying and permanent checkpoints. All this was climaxed since one year by cruel sanctions imposed on the Palestinian people, as a result of the Palestinian elections in which Hamas Movement won the majority of parliament seats contrary to the taste of the USA and most of the European governments. The sanctions effected the economic situation drastically and the schools closed for around three months as a result of the teacher’s strike.
The UN, Special Rapporteur John Dugard describes the situation in Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Israelis adopt what South Africa dropped” Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories has many features of colonization. At the same time it has many of the worst characteristics of apartheid many aspects of Israel’s occupation surpass those of the apartheid regime. Israel’s large-scale destruction of Palestinian homes, leveling of agricultural lands, military incursions and targeted assassinations of Palestinians far exceed any similar practices in apartheid South Africa. No wall was ever built to separate blacks and whites.

Palestinian children (52.6% of population) do not live the joy and innocence of their childhood. They are exposed to death more than 809 martyrs (19% of all Palestinian deaths are children), loss of beloved, loss of home, detention, malnutrition, extreme poverty, lack proper health care and education 60% of Palestinians live on around $2 per day.

Children in Gaza are growing up in one of the harshest settings in the world. Gaza is the most densely populated areas in the world majority of its population are refugees uprooted from their homeland in 1948. During the long years of occupation it has suffered most of the Israeli atrocities. Gaza is a real prison where people cannot travel to the West Bank and have great difficulties traveling to the outside world. On June 9, Huda Ghali, a 12 year old girl, lost seven of her family members as Israeli shells hit while they were picnicking on the Gaza beach.

B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights published its annual report about the Israeli atrocities in the OPT “the Israelis killed one hundred and forty one children in the last year. Most of the dead are from the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces demolished almost 300 houses and slew entire families”.

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reports that till June 2005:
“More than 2704 houses in the Gaza strip has been completely demolished by the Israeli occupying forces since the outbreak of the intifada, rendering thousands of Palestinian civilians homeless”

Oppression and evils of occupation did not end after Israeli withdrawal for Gaza. Dugard (E/CN.4/2006/29) says about this issue: “It is no longer necessary for a foreign military power to maintain a permanent physical presence in a territory to exercise control.” He says that the Israeli atrocities, “serve as a constant reminder to the people of Gaza that they remain occupied”.

Ilan Pappe is senior lecturer in the University of Haifa and Human Rights activist, rightly says in The Electronic Intifada, “ Israel is conducting genocidal policies in the Gaza Strip (…) it is the only appropriate way to describe what the Israeli army is doing in the Gaza Strip” (More symbolic facts are provided in an appendix and more links can be provided upon request).

Suggested Project by PBBY:
• Support two Community Based Centers (CBC), in marginalized and most affected areas of Gaza, to start a nucleus children’s library for the Community.
• Provide an attractive place for children to encourage reading and participation in stress release and creative activities for children.

Purpose of the project:
There is great disruption in the educational process in Palestine as a result of feeble system inherited from days of Israel occupation and the current, continuous Israeli atrocities and destruction of homes and schools. Moreover, the sanctions imposed since one year as mentioned before, affected the educational process. In addition, though there is high percentage of enrollment in schools, the quality of education is low with the traditional rote learning methods and lack of student interaction and creative learning resources. The number of pupils per teacher is a crucial factor for the effectiveness of the education process, in Palestine it is 36 pupils (Human Development Report, UNDP 2005).

Palestinians, believe that the struggle for knowledge and education is a struggle for liberation, and that Palestinians are not only victims but also activists struggling to bring liberation and social transformation to their people. However, when children are traumatized as a result of loss of their beloved, their homes, when they are afraid, undernourished and cold, little can be learned and absorbed. In this situation, they need beautiful books, “amongst sufferings and stress we find a Palestinian child embracing a beautiful book, a book he loves, in which he finds his safe haven for knowledge and imagination, a book that soars with him through a magic carpet and carries him across many seas and cities far, far away..” (Speech at ceremony of Medchild Award).

PBBY believes that books are essential in conflict areas and can be an important therapeutic tool in helping cope with trauma and in encouraging moral and spiritual growth. Access to such books not only encourages and maintains literacy amongst children, but the specific content will help promote concepts of democracy, non violence, social justice, gender equality intercultural exchange and tolerance.

PBBY would like to provide Palestinian children, in Gaza - OPT, who are growing up under occupation and in environment characterized by a high level of violence and suppression of their basic human rights with: (Short Term Benefits)

• A nucleus of two community based children’s libraries.
• New approaches to learning motivating Palestinian children to read critically. Critical reading, writing, and debate are key aspects of social expression and important in helping develop leadership skills and in building civil society, from the grass roots upwards.
•Help relieve stress and trauma through bibliotherapy.
•Promote the habit of reading among Palestinian children as the best tool for acquiring knowledge.

Long Term Benefits:
This project will help to support literacy, will promote the reading habits among children and promote children literature in Palestine.

Children will get to know about different children around the world and about their culture and their struggles and hopes.

Palestinian children will become confident and more self assertive, with better critical thinking and inquisitive mind and they will get to know about their Children Rights.

Places of Implementation:
1. Beit Hannoun- (See Appendix for details)
2. Al- Shawka Area -

PBBY, choose tow of the most affected and marginalized areas in Gaza and chose CBC partners who have grass roots activities with the children and the community, have started some educational activities or have few books.
The two CBC expressed great enthusiasm for the project and pledged their commitment to sustain and promote the library
Al- Ataa’ Charitable Society will host the nucleus children’s library in Beit Hanoun
Society for Development of Rural Women will host the nucleus children’s library in Al- Shawka Area.

Plan of Implementation

  • Selection, purchase of the quality books.
  • Provide a good quantity of quality books (mainly Arabic), to each of this CBC in the designated areas. (Books will be bought from publishers and distributors in Palestine and some if possible from outside Palestine).
  • Provide necessary furniture suitable for library activities (tables, chairs… and stationary).
  • Choose a suitable coordinator who can do the classification of the books and implement the creative activities with the children.
  • Simple classification of books and preparation for activities.
  • Implementation of creative activities with the children: Creative writing, story telling, drama, drawing, book discussions etc.

February 2009


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