As part of any emergency response, World Vision sets up “child-friendly” spaces as soon as possible with activities that normalise the lives of children, giving them a sense of safety, structure and predictability. Activities such as drawing, drama, songs, story-telling and sports allow for the release of any stored distress.
"World Vision's psychosocial approach focusses on resilience," says Carol Toms of World Vision's Children in emergencies and crisis, "building children's capacity to respond and bounce back from the adversities of life. Some children like to express themselves in drawings, others prefer puppets or acting plays. We encourage children in our programmes to express themselves through the method they choose."
Here, drawings by three children living in Gaza go some way to show the impact violence has on children's lives.
Yasser*, age 13
"I do not like the occupation, tanks, or surveillance towers."
Mona*, age 13
A tank fires on a group of men. Smaller figures, perhaps children, stand near a mosque. Guns fire on them.
Muhammad*, age 12
A vehicle fires on a crowd that carries off a man on a stretcher.
*Names have been changed.
Effects of violence
"World Vision grieves for all victims of this crisis, be they Israeli or Palestinian. We are especially concerned about how the conflict is taking a toll on innocent civilians on all sides. Children, mothers and the elderly are suffering. World Vision is working and hoping for a day when there will be an end to the violence and bloodshed."
Allyn Dhynes, Advocacy, peacebuilding and communications manager, World Vision Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza
Real life in Gaza
Eleven-year-old Fuad and his family fled their home abruptly on 21 July after intensive shooting started in their border village, south Gaza.
Fuad still finds it hard to hear properly since the missile exploded outside his house. He says: “My brothers, sisters and I woke up frightened and shaking, but had no time to catch our breath. We could not even take clothes with us.”
Fuad and his family had to walk in the middle of the night to the neighbouring city of Rafah. Fuad was so frightened that he did not know how long it took them to reach Rafah – to him, it seemed like an eternity. A walk that usually takes at least an hour, Fuad and his family walked under constant gunfire.