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UNICEF Opens Summer Camps for Palestinian...

2003.07.02
⊆ UNICEF Opens Summer Camps for Palestinian Children GAZA, GENEVA -1 July 2003 쭯 Palestinian children will have a chance to participate in child-friendly summer camps this year, with the opening of 311 such camps in the Occupied Palestinian Territory today. “This is a much needed opportunity for Palestinian children,” said David Bassiouni, UNICEF’s Special Representative to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. With schools closed, the camps will give girls and boys a safe and peaceful place to spend their days, a desperately needed chance to have some fun, and an important opportunity to pick up vital life skills to cope with the daily challenges they face.” Since September 2000, almost all children have witnessed traumatic events. More than 550 children have been killed since September 2000 쭯 459 Palestinian children and 92 Israelis below the age of 18. Others have witnessed the death and injury of family members and friends. Frequent exposure to such events can cause a significant decline in children’s confidence in the adults around them. UNICEF believes that the camps offer some peace and a vision of hope for the future. Among other things, the camps supported by UNICEF will teach young people 쭯 especially adolescents 쭯 to cope with stress and anxiety and help improve self-esteem, problem-solving skills, and decision-making. Due to the loss of school days during the 2002-2003 school year, some of the camps will provide remedial classes for children aged 6-9 years old. This will contribute to strengthening numeracy and literacy skills of this age group and will allow them to compensate for the lost school days. More and more Palestinian children are in despair and losing hope. These young people are looking for constructive ways to continue to cope with the situation. The summer camps offer a crucial opportunity for children to express their fears freely and deal with the ongoing crisis in peaceful and non-violent ways. UNICEF says that its successful support of 180 camps in the summer of 2002 led to a major expansion of the programme, which this year will include support to more than 311 summer camps. The camps will cater to nearly 30,000 children between the ages of 6 and 12, and to some 16,000 between the ages of 12 and 18. The summer camps 쭯 which run anywhere from two to four weeks 쭯 are administered by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the Palestinian Ministry of Youth & Sports, and Palestinian NGOs with the support of UNICEF.
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