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“Workshop: ‘Endless Care’ – World Children’s Day – Inclusion for Every Child”

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Concluding its World Children’s day campaign, run this year under the international theme “Inclusion for Every Child”, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme has organized a workshop in cooperation with local and international organizations to bring attention to the general state of children in the Gaza Strip.

The workshop also aimed to review the work done in child protection, the achievements and the challenges in providing support for children and sharing experiences in this field.

‘Endless Care’ workshop was opened by a speech delivered by Mr Qusai Abu Odei, Director of Foreign Relations and Resources Development department, in which he welcomed the participants and emphasized the role of their organizations in supporting children, and also  the role and efforts of GCMHP in providing psychosocial for the children, especially in crisis times.

The first discussion session was then initiated with a presentation by Dr Sami Oweida, a GCMHP psychologist, specializing in psychological health for children and adolescents. He  presented a paper on ‘The Reality of Children's Mental Health in Light of Repeated Military Offensives”. The paper included case studies of war affected children who he intervened with as part of his work.

Ms Alft Almasawabi then presented a paper in which she explained the reality of protection interventions in the Gaza Strip, the nature of problems dealt with in the field of child protection, and how to detect and refer cases within the process of providing interventions.

The third presentation in the first session was made by Dr Khaled Abu. His presentation focused on on the reality of mental health of schoolchildren from the perspective of the Ministry of Education.

In the second session, psychologist Osama Farina gave a comprehensive presentation on the connotations of children's drawing, how to read the messages they carry and their fundamental role in diagnosis and treatment.

Presenting some of its varying methods of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children, GCMHP video on its experience in ‘Sports for Smile’ project which is carried out in collaboration with 4 different sports clubs across the Gaza Strip. The project provides psychological support for 500 children through sport activities and counselling sessions and parent awareness.

At the end of the session, the most important recommendations were summarized as follows:

·      The need to activate the role of community organization in developing better visions and strategies that lives up for the level of challenges faced by children, especially in schools and kindergartens.

·         The necessity of sharing experiences between institutions working in the fields of child protection.

·         Create long-term psychological and social programmes and interventions that ensure access to high levels of efficiency and quality in achieving child protection goals.

·         Exchange and strengthen systems and methods of care of psychological and social service providers for field workers to maintain professional motivation levels in performing their duties.

·         Focusing on school mental health as an input to promoting child's mental health.

·         Training of elementary level mentors on guidance techniques.

·         Opening more instructional units within schools and providing a mentor for each unit

·         Concentrating attention on the subject of drawing in schools by preparing rooms for drawing in every school. 

To encourage children’s talents, a group from Edward Said Conservatory presented a musical performance at the end of the workshop, and then Mr Abdulkarim Ashour, Deputy Head of BODs, together with Dr Teaser Diab, Deputy Director General of Professional Affairs, distributes plaques of appreciation to participants of the discussion panel.