Psychosocial help for children in Gaza priority for World Vision

    -   Number of children showing symptoms of trauma has increased
    -   World Vision concerned about lasting impact violence is having on
    -   Child-friendly programs created to help 2,200 children in Gaza

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Feb. 5 /CNW/ - World Vision started programs to help
children in Gaza cope with the emotional trauma that escalated from their
exposure to violence, death and loss during the recent Israeli incursion.
These emergency psychosocial interventions will reach 2,200 children in Gaza.
    "As a child-focused agency, we are deeply concerned about the lasting
impact this violence is having on children, who make up half of Gaza's
population and who have just endured highly traumatic events," said Charles
Clayton, National Director of World Vision Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza. "Both
Palestinian and Israeli children suffer from the conflict and addressing their
needs requires psychosocial support."
    Local World Vision staff reported that the number of children showing
symptoms of trauma has increased dramatically since the latest fighting.
    Even before the latest conflict, children in Gaza faced high levels of
recurrent nightmares and anxiety-induced bedwetting linked to prolonged
exposure to violence and fear. A June 2008 study by World Vision revealed
alarming rates of trauma symptoms among children aged five to 15 in North
Gaza, with more than 16 per cent of those surveyed suffering from nightmares.
    World Vision's programs will reach 1,200 children in the north and 1,000
in the south of Gaza by providing a space that will allow them to break away
from the painful reality of war that has affected their lives and allow them
to be children again.
    The programs provide a secure environment with counsellors trained to
help children handle psychological and emotional problems. Recreational
activities such as puppet shows and games help children feel a sense of
security and normalcy. Their mothers participate in workshops on how to best
protect and reassure them.
    World Vision donors support more than 23,000 children in the West Bank
and Gaza, including 6,000 children sponsored by Canadians in the West Bank.
World Vision began working in Israel and the Palestinian territories in 1975.
    World Vision is accepting donations to assist those affected by the Gaza
conflict. Those wishing to help can visit or call

    World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization
dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome
poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion,
race, ethnicity or gender.

For further information:

For further information: To interview World Vision staff, please
contact: Yoko Kobayashi, (905) 565-6200 ext. 2151, (416) 671-0086 (cell),; Alex Sancton, (905) 565-6200 ext.3949, (416)
419-1321 (cell),

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