WAUK Newsletter 01/10/2018

1. School Counselling Units supporting children in Gaza

This project is supporting children who are traumatised from living in a conflict zone and in the difficult conditions of Gaza. It is providing professional psychosocial support and promoting a healthy school environment. The war on Gaza in 2014 was catastrophic and affected all aspects of life, it was the third conflict in six years and has taken a severe toll on everyone there. All geographic areas of Gaza were affected by the war which was marked by aerial bombardment, naval shelling and artillery fire from Israeli forces. Throughout the conflict, there was real fear among the population that no person or place was safe, as evidenced by attacks on hospitals, residential buildings and schools designated as shelters. Psychosocial distress levels, already high among the population of Gaza, have worsened significantly as a result of this latest conflict and children are particularly vulnerable. In this project, four new counselling units have been established in four public schools.  Welfare Association has implemented the School Counselling Unit Programme and since 2010, more than 50 schools have benefited. Faisal Ben Fahed Secondary School for Girls in Jabalia Camp, North of the Gaza Strip, Sobhi Abo Karsh Primary School (B) (Mixed School), Al-Tuffah neighbourhood, East Gaza City, Al-Motasem Bil-llah Primary School (A) for Boys in the Al-Yarmook Area , West of Gaza City and Al-Quds Secondary School for Girls in Rafah.

Once the schools are selected, based on numbers of children in need of counselling services and the space to have a permanent dedicated counselling room, the room is fully equipped and training and skills upgrading is provided for existing school counsellors and teaching staff, through local partner the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, and the unit is introduced to parents and children with the unit’s services and purpose explained. Teachers and parents may refer children for services and the support they need. Parents are also advised on how they may best support their child.

At the midway point, this project has provided services to 132 students, 51 parents of students and 37 school staff (counsellors and teachers). The GCMHP professionals provided a 25-training-hour course (theoretical and practical) on Mental Health for School Children for the school staff. This covered topics such as: violence and psychological effects; learning difficulties among children; play therapy, its significance and impact; behavioural modification techniques and case studies. Participants were awarded a certificate for successfully completing the course. Awareness-raising sessions were attended by 209 people; including 131 parents and 78 teachers, covering topics such as: psychological stresses and pressures; the role of the counselling units; anxiety associated with taking exams and how to deal with it; the most common problems among adolescents and appropriate ways to deal with them; how to deal with the low academic achievement among children and the difficult topic of suicide. At the midway point, the project has been successful in helping students to overcome emotional stress and providing support for the psychosocial rehabilitation of students through the counselling units, reducing behavioural problems. Children requiring more specialised treatment have been successfully diagnosed and referred for specialist treatment where required. The project has also increased the capacity of caregivers to (mothers and teachers) so that they can appropriately support their children and understand their mental health issues on a longer term basis.

2. Provision of sight screening services for young children in Gaza

Amal with pink glasses resize.jpgThis project is part of an early detection and care intervention programme for young children in Gaza. The project was designed to address the needs of, and provide protection from, sight impairments in young children. There is a high rate of students with hearing and sight problems who are not receiving support due to the absence of a comprehensive early detection programme in Gaza. This makes children (0-5 years of age) more vulnerable to hearing and sight problems which can severely affect their development. Sight and hearing difficulties and disabilities that go undetected can affect a child’s academic attainment and cause difficulties with reading and writing. Sight impairments can also lead to psychological problems resulting in emotional and behavioural issues.  The early care and treatment of children born with sight and hearing disabilities is important to maximise health and development, mobility, language acquisition and to see an improvement in their sensory skills. During this project, sight examinations were conducted for 1,974 children in 11 kindergartens and schools.  450 children were found to have sight problems that required them to wear glasses, all of these children received the new glasses they needed.  Some of the sight problems discovered included Myopia, Hyperopia/ Hypermetropia, Astigmatism, Myopia associated Astigmatism and Hypermetropia associated Astigmatism. This project has improved the lives of 450 young children in the early stages of their education. It has spared them the negative effects associated with deteriorating vision and the possibility of a more serious sight disability or even blindness in the future. This project has also increased the inclusion of these children in the education system. The majority of children who received glasses have shown an improvement in their learning capabilities, concentration levels and interaction with life at their Kindergartens. Teachers have also reported increased self-confidence in these children in comparison to before their treatment.

Read our Story from the Field, Amal's Story, here

3. Fundraising Updates: Sandra Fadayel and Art with a Cause and Amazon Smile Donations

Art with a Cause: Artist Sandra Fadayel is generously allocating 30% of her art sales to the Shirin Fund.

Ward at Makassed hospital Shirin Fund resized.jpgWelfare Association is delighted to announce that we are collaborating with Jordanian-Canadian artist, Sandra Fadayel, who has very generously offered to donate 30% of the sales of her artwork to the Shirin Fund. The Shirin Fund is supporting the costs of medical treatment for children with special needs in Palestine, including surgeries, whose parents otherwise could not afford treatment. Please click here to find out more about the work of the Shirin Fund or to make a donation.

Sandra Fadayel Healing Picture correct size.jpg

Sandra Fadayel has Palestinian roots and has trained at Bath University (UK), and the Pratt Institute in New York. She has worked internationally for some of the leading names in the design world. One of Sandra’s main themes in her artwork is exploring heritage: looking at objects from another time, often featuring Arabian themes and motifs, such as Palestinian tribal jewellery, embroidery, woven Bedouin Jordanian rugs, and Arabic text. Sandra is very generously allocating 30% of the sales of her artwork to WA’s Shirin Fund, and its vital work to assist Palestinian children with special needs requiring medical (including surgical) procedures.


To find out more about Sandra herself, click here.

To browse her artwork click here.

To make a donation to the Shirin Fund click here

Amazon Smile Donations for Welfare Association

Welfare Association is now participating in AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support a charity of your choice every time you shop with Amazon.

When you shop at Amazon log in at smile.amazon.co.uk, and select The Welfare Association as your chosen charity,. Your Amazon experience will be the same as usual with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your selected charity at no extra cost to you.

We are encouraging our Supporters who use Amazon to consider supporting The Welfare Association. For straightforward instructions of how to do this on Amazon’s UK site, please click here.