We have launched a second online campaign to raise fund for the Gaza Children Cinema 2018-2019. We are grateful for your invaluable contribution which allowed our to reach out to hundreds of kids in besieged Gaza through organized over 100 film screening. We are very determined to raise enough fund to keep the momentum of initiative as the summary school holiday is about the start in Palestine.
Please support second online campaign for the second phase: https://www.gofundme.com/GazaChildrenCinema2018-2019
Give Gaza children the gift of fun, friendship and support as they struggle to grow up under occupation and violent internal and external conflict.
Nearly half of the Gaza Strip’s 2 million people are below the age of 14. These are children who have been shaped by war; fear of another war; their family’s daily struggle to put food on the table; a lack of clean water, electricity and other basic requirements of living; and a future that is at once both monotonously unchanging and fraught with uncertainty.
These stresses not only impact the children directly, but also indirectly through parents and siblings. Too often, depression, anger and anxiety are projected onto others in the form of verbal, physical or sexual abuse. Bullying has become a common way to respond to tension, while others withdraw deep within. Complicating this all is a culture that rejects any perception of weakness.
Gaza children need a safe place to express themselves and explore alternative ways to process the world. We want to use cinema and facilitated discussions as the vehicle, but we need your help.
Who are we:
Our inspiration: Ahmed’s story
In 2013, several of us encountered Ahmed, just 10 years old at the time, working long hours selling ice cream on one of Gaza’s beaches. Uncharacteristically, we tried to engage him in conversation, to learn why he had to work so hard at such a young age. The encounter with the young Ahmed was in Gaza beach was an opportunity for him to have an informal space to express himself and voice out the hard social and economic realities of Gaza. As a result of that meeting, we started to imagine and explore how those children would have the awareness and conscious if they were raised up in a friendlier non-judgemental environment. The idea of mobile cinema came about that time in spring 2013.
Film attracts with its entertainment, builds rapport with its characters and educates with its storylines. When carefully chosen, a movie, cartoon or short film relaxes children; allows them to escape from their home life; models desired values and behavior; and offers a safe, nonjudgmental way to process and comment on the themes that unfold. When shown in a group setting with facilitated discussion, it builds healthy engagement and constructive relationships with others. However, cinemas do not exist in Gaza and television—with its prime-time-ratings oriented content—offers the only such entertainment.
Gaza Children’s Cinema seeks to fill that gap with facilitated cinema gatherings at convenient community locations across the Gaza Strip, attended by vulnerable children in elementary and middle school and led by trained high-school-aged peers.
1. Introduce children to quality cinema that entertains at the same time that it facilitates exploration of diverse family and social issues.
2. Provide children from vulnerable families, especially those living in poverty or in areas most frequently targeted by Israeli incursions, with a safe and non-judgmental space for discussion, reflection and creative expression.
3. Raise children’s awareness and understanding of their rights,
4. Promote healthy, positive conflict resolution through dialogue and tolerance.
5. Model nonviolent behavior during interpersonal conflicts as effective and “cool” (rather than “weak,” as is often the case in the Gaza environment).
6. Offer children with disabilities the same opportunities for entertaining, educational group activities as others, integrating them with their peers.
How Gaza Children’s Cinema works:
We are partnering with select nonprofits in underserved areas of the Gaza Strip, such as Family Development Association in Beit Hanoun (to the far north, by the Israeli border) and in Rafah (in the far south, by Egypt. They work with hundreds of families monthly and identify children who could benefit from the opportunity offered by Gaza Children’s Cinema.
A “cinema gathering” is organized several times a month at locations chosen by our partners. For example, in one of our first showings, we featured an animated film produced in Gaza called “The Bridge,” which tells the story of four animals trying to cross a river who in their bickering stop any of them from succeeding. The older youth, trained by our partner organizations, lead the post-film discussion, encouraging the children to rethink their behavior, reactions and attitudes when faced with various types of conflicts. No “right” and “wrong” answers are imposed; rather, the facilitators are trained to guide children by posing critical questions and demonstrating another way of relating to others.
What we’ve accomplished so far:
We have reached out to few hundreds of children residing in margined communities in north and south of the Gaza Strip. Children joined the cinema sessions with their parents in inclusive and entertaining settings. With the support of Gaza Children Cinema volunteer team, children have the opportunity to engage into stimulating and interactive discussion prior and after the film screenings. The cinema sessions provides children with an open platform for reflection and build self-steam.
What we need from you:
In 2017, we hope to engage 2,000 children in our cinema events in their marginalized areas. Each targeted child will be supplied by an art bag to encourage reflect, imagine and enjoy painting. The team requires technical and financial support to make cinema sessions accessible to more number of children cross the Gaza Strip; at the same time, it helps the team maintaining the work with the existing groups of children benefiting from the program.
We know most of you cannot come to Gaza, and that your resources are limited. But if you give what you can, no matter how small, to this project, we will amplify your gift so you will be with us in spirit, touching the lives of thousands of children.
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- Richard Skinner
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