This booklet is the fruit of a project between Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and Save the children in 2014. Al Mezan worked with a group of children in Gaza to introduce human rights to them and support their active participation in their protection. Children were educated on what human rights and child rights are, and on how to monitor rights violations within their communities and schools. During the year, 120 children were invited to trainings, meetings and assessments so they can take an active part in monitoring human rights violations.
In July 2014, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) launched a wide-scale military operation on the Gaza strip. For 51 days, these children, and Gaza children generally, lived through horrors as their homes and neighborhoods were bombarded or invaded. They had to witness their parents, siblings or neighbors; including other children, as they were killed or hurt in IOF attacks. Tens of thousands of children faced forcible displacement, too. Al Mezan decided to work with these children in order to give them a chance to say their stories in a setting where they interacted with psychotherapists to help them deal with the traumas of the war. This booklet is the product of this work.
The booklet introduces a series of children experiences in which they tell how they experienced the war. The children were invited to fun days in a protected environment in Gaza. They had sessions in which they spoke about their stories and traumas during the IOF attacks, in which 556 children were killed over the 51-day offensive during which the IOF launched air, ground and naval attacks. The booklet also presents a selection of the drawings by children, which reflect the state they are going through from their suffering to hopes and ambitions, and photos from the psychosocial support sessions.