occupied Palestinian territory | ActionAid UK

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Occupied Palestinian territory

Athar has been chatting to us via WhatsApp, sharing her day-to-day life with us from Gaza

20-year-old Athar is studying English Literature at university, loves WhatsApp, chocolate ice cream and going for dinner with her family. So far, so familiar. But because Athar lives in Gaza, this intelligent young woman has survived unimaginable hardship and trauma. Her home was bombed during the 2014 war – she and her sister were injured, and her father was killed.Athar is keen to share her story, so more people know what is happening in Gaza. Read extracts from my WhatsApp chat with her to gain unique insight into what it’s like growing up as a girl in Gaza, and be inspired by her amazing approach to life.

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

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

Watch 'The Story of Hope' this Christmas

Posted in Blogs 1 year 3 months ago

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

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. 

Feda'a works for ActionAid in the occupied Palestinian territory, where she helps to support girls traumatised by conflict

Feda'a works for Al Aqsa Sports Club, ActionAid's partner in the Middle Area of the Gaza Strip in the occupied Palestinian territory. Working so closely with children and the local community, and as a mother of seven herself, she has seen first hand the physical and psychological impacts of war in Gaza on the very young. She describes the difficulties that girls in particular are facing right now, and how ActionAid's work is making a crucial difference.