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For our Christmas appeal this year we are asking for your support to transform lives by sponsoring a child. In conflict-hit countries, millions of girls are living in fear. Child sponsorship helps us provide psychosocial services, family centres, school supplies and more, to help traumatised children rebuild their futures. Actress Miriam Margolyes has supported ActionAid for over 30 years. She visited our work in the occupied Palestinian territory and has seen first-hand the impact child sponsorship makes. She tells us what it means to be a child sponsor with ActionAid.

20-year-old Athar sitting on the sofa in her family's new home in Gaza

Horrific memories of war, by a 20-year-old student from Gaza

Athar – University student, Gaza

Athar, 20, lives in Gaza and is now studying at university, but in 2014 her life changed dramatically as a result of the war. Here she shares her personal account of what happened to her, and explains the strength it takes to survive in Gaza. ActionAid UK's #NoGirlAfraid Christmas appeal is supporting girls at risk in the world’s toughest places, because a life free from fear is every girl's right. Athar is happy to tell her story and says that this is the first time she has shared this with others.

Tiwonge Gondwe (centre) from Malawi is a human rights defender

Sunday 10th December marks the end of the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, an annual global movement emphasising all forms of violence against women and girls as a human rights issue.

Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) don’t just come together once a year - but all year, to be a voice and to struggle for the rights of other people. It’s their role in opposing the patriarchy and making change that means they need to be supported in ending gender-based violence.

The Story of Hope, written by Giles Paley-Phillips and illustrated by Hannah Asen.

It's only three weeks until Christmas. For many of us, our thoughts are turning towards spending time with family and friends at home. But worldwide, 14 million girls - equivalent to the population of greater London - could face a new year without the comforts of home, after being displaced by humanitarian disasters.

Children’s author Giles Paley-Phillips has written a fictional children’s story, based on the experiences of girls who ActionAid works with, to show how child sponsorship can make a difference to girls in countries affected by conflict. Watch 'The Story of Hope', narrated by BAFTA award winning actor Anna Maxwell-Martin, and illustrated by Hannah Asen.

Nine-year-old Suzjoud outside her home in Gaza, part of the occupied Palestinian territory

Although Gaza's last war ended in 2014, millions of people are living under a blockade and tensions between communities in the occupied Palestinian territory still run high. Young children are especially at risk - living in fear, in the shadow of ever-present violence. Here nine-year-old Suzjoud describes being attacked on her way to collect water near her home, and how ActionAid's first aid training became a lifeline for her family.

Nine-year-old Dima is traumatised by the recent war in Gaza

Traumatised by memories of war: the children with PTSD

Claire Smith – Supporter Communications Team

Exposed to dead bodies, witness to acts of violence - or even attacked themselves - children living in conflict often develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the occupied Palestinian territory, ActionAid is providing psychosocial support to help children and their families recover from the damaging effects of trauma.