By Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik e.V. – The orphans of Gaza are not the result of poverty, but of Zionist siege, and constant aggression and war in the isolated Gaza Strip. On Electronic Intifada it says:https://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-siege-punishing-gaza-orphans/10735
During Muslim holidays, the association gives food to the orphans and other impoverished families and organizes activities for the children throughout the year. Other Islamic charities throughout Gaza fill similar roles of basic child sponsorship and emergency assistance.
The needs of Gaza’s orphans have increased so dramatically over the years that many more international charities are taking active roles in child sponsorship, extending the scope to widowed mothers. About the real situation of orphans we talked to Mrs. Aisha Abdel Rahman Rabi of Nour al-Marifa. We asked her to tell us about the needs and problems orphans have in Gaza at all levels.
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War children and orphans have problems and needs, at all levels. The physical injuries perhaps can heal, but the psychogical and emotional ones are much worse. Because of Zionist occupation, Zionist siege, and Zionist wars, thousand of children in Gaza have lost one or both parents. And this is a tragedy, which concerns us all.
Milena Rampoldi: What are the main problems of orphans in Gaza?
Aisha Abdel Rahman Rabi: The fundamental problems faced by orphans are first of all related to the economic weakness due to loss of a breadwinner or father. This causes a sense of emotional deprivation in their souls because of the loss of a source of tenderness and safety at all levels. Another problem can arise when the widow marries another man and leaves the children with the father’s family. All the orphans suffer from a terrible emotional vacuum. They change their behaviour because of the absence of love and tenderness by their partners or parent. And all this is added to the war trauma all children experienced continuously in their short lives.
MR: What does your organisation do to help these orphans?
ARR: Within the Association Nour al-Marifa there is an center for orphans which offers a comprehensive assistance to Gazan orphan children. But orphans primarily need is safety. Through a monthly sponsorship we cover their basic needs (educatiion, food, and health care). For their psychological safety we offer them psychological assistance and recreational programs to reduce their emotional vacuum. At the same time, we help the mothers to manage their lives in dignity. With us, they can learn a profession to sustain their children if the father has died.
MR: How important is the support by women to the orphan children?
ARR: Women and mothers are fundamental for all children, and so in particular for orphans who have lost one or both parents. The extended family is fundamental for them to manage their lives after this tragic loss. if the mother survives she has to play both roles, the one of the mother and the one of the father which is really difficult under the actual economic, social, and political conditions in Gaza.
MR: How do you help orphans in education?
ARR: The Security Center of Nour al-Marifa (which in Arabic means light of knowledge) helps the orphans by offering them a financial sponsorship that enables them to buy all they need to go to school without any obstacles. The Center also assesses the children to check how there level is at school. This motivates them to progress in their studies and encourages them to continue their studies. The aim we would like to reach is that these orphans do not abandon school to have a better future perspective.
MR: How many orphans more are there because of the last summer Israeli aggression?
ARR: The number of orphaned children in the Gaza Strip increased enormously after the recent Israeli war against the Gaza Strip in summer 2014. According to the figures of the organisation British Islamic Relief there are 1346 orphans estimated. Statistically, an orphan means a child who has lost one parent, or two parents.