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“Gaza Community Mental Health Programme Organises an Award Ceremony for the Short Film Competition for Young People”

The programme conducted an event on Wednesday 5th December on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The event held an award ceremony for the winners of the Short Film Competition for Young People which was funded by Trocaire and which was announced in mid-August 2018.

The event was attended by Dr. Mohammed Abu Shahla, Chairman of the Board of Directors of GCMHP, a number of the board members, Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, Director General of GCMHP, a number of representatives of governmental and non-governmental organisations, and representatives of women’s organisations and human rights advocate organisations.

The event started with a welcome note given by Dr. Abu Jamei in which he highlighted the role of women in the Palestinian Society. He emphasised the necessity to fight violence against women by raising awareness on this subject and by supporting the organisations working in this field. Dr. Abu Jamei also pointed out that the current political, economic, and security situation, as well as the 12-year-old siege,  are taking a toll on the wellbeing of the Palestinian community. He emphasised the importance of ending these difficulties in order to protect family bonds and avoid social and psychological disasters inside the Palestinian community.

Ms. Amal Seyam, head of Women’s Affairs Centre, pointed out the leading role of Gaza Community Mental Health Programme in discussing and supporting women’s struggles in the Palestinian society. Ms. Seyam talked about the 16-day campaign which was started by the United Nations on 25 November ‘The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’ and will continue until 10 December ‘The International Day for Human Rights’ to confirm the strong relationship between Women’s rights and Human Rights. Ms. Seyam thanked women in the Arab world and especially Palestinian women, highlighting the difficulties that arise from the political division, siege, and the rise of violence against women in the past few years.

Mr. Sameer Zaquot, Deputy Director of AlMizan Centre for Human Rights also talked about the leading role of GCMHP in the Palestinian society to tackle and ease the violations that women face, emphasising that women have every right to live safely. He pointed out that the Palestinian woman is all of society and not half of it whilst also highlighting the violations and restrictions that the Palestinian people face because of the Israeli occupation, which results in economic and social complications. He also emphasised that the Palestinian woman plays a huge role in the steadfastness and the stability of the Palestinian society.

Mr. Qusai Abu Owda presented a summary on the activities of the project titled ‘Enhancing the Awareness and Access to Reliable Mental Health and Counselling Services to Women and Children in the Gaza Strip’, implemented in partnership with civil society organisations and funded by Trocaire. This event comes as part of this project’s activities. The presentation viewed the main interventions of the project and how it has enhanced access to mental health services. Mr. Abu Owda also emphasised that there is a need to view new strategies and more comprehensive approaches which should deal with the root causes of violence against women. He pointed out that the programme does not and will not deal with this issue in a seasonal manner but that it will always be a central part of its interventions and activities.

Ms. Nour Abdelwahed, a psychologist working at GCMHP, talked about her experience with the Free Counselling Line which the programme offers, showing a number of live cases of VAW whom she has followed through her work.

In the second part of the event, Ms. Rasha Abushaban, Head of the Public Relations and Media Unit at GCMHP and one of the members of the evaluation committee of the competition, explained the process of the competition and the value of each award as well as the role of these films in raising awareness about VAW.

The three winning films were played and Ms. Abushaban announced the winners ranks in the following order: Mr. Mohammed Alaloul, winning a first award worth 1000$ for his film Hilm Madfoun ‘A buried Dream’, Alamara ‘The scar’ film team which was represented by Mr. Osama Alashi, winning a prize of 700$, and Ms. Sahar AlHaw, whose prize was 400$ for her film Hikayati “My Story”

Dr. Abu Shahla and Dr. Abu Jamei presented the awards to the particpiants and presented hounouring certificates to the rest of the filmmakers who participated in the competition.

In the end, Dr. Abu Shahla gave a closing remark thanking the organisers and emphasising the importance and the value of women in the Palestinian society and wishing success to the young men and women who participated in the Short Film Competition.