|Children's story teller. The banner shows Brent Friends of Palestine amongst the sponsors|
The UN Secretary-General has found that the blockade and related restrictions contravene international humanitarian law as they target and impose hardship on the civilian population, effectively penalizing them for acts they have not committed. All this has considerable impact on the long term physical and mental well- being of children in Gaza and the West Bank.
Two major international events this summer have highlighted obstacles faced by Palestinians wanting to travel outside Gaza. This year a team of 6 athletes went to the Rio Olympics despite the enormous difficulties of training in Palestine. For example, Mary Al-Atrash, a swimmer has had to train in a half sized pool despite there being several Olympic sized pools in Israel. The head of the Palestinian team, Issam Qishta, was not given a permit to leave Gaza and so the team had to leave without their leader. Also those who went had to buy their kit once they reached Brazil.
In July the 80 strong Palestinian Youth Orchestra toured Britain giving concerts in several British cities including London. Again, two members of the orchestra living in Gaza were not allowed to leave.
The Palestine Trauma Centre provides therapeutic support to families and children whose lives have been devastated by the bombings and the harshness of life in Gaza. It was founded by a clinical psychologist from Gaza.
The Centre aims to do both reparative and preventative work with children and families. One aspect of this work is the Fridays of Joy sessions when teams of play workers, story tellers, clowns and play therapists visit villages and refugee camps in Gaza and run imaginative sessions which involve hundreds of children, giving them some fun, which is, in itself, therapeutic, and on a regular basis can have a long term benefits for the children. One of their slogans is ‘Create Joy Amongst the Debris.
Brent Friends of Palestine are holding a fund raising concert in Central London on Saturday October 1st with singer-songwriters Frankie Armstrong, Janet Russell, Leon Rosselson, Palestinian oud player and singer Nizza al-Issa and professional violinist Simon Hewitt Jones. Simon travels to Palestine to work with young violinists in Ramallah. The MC will be Ian Saville, socialist conjuror, just returned from the Edinburgh Festival.
More information can be found at Brent Friends of Palestine on Facebook