Widows and orphans… The two sides of the same coin of suffering
By: Eng. Mohammad Y.Hasna
The Orphan Day celebrations in the first of April of each year is a good opportunity to reveal the suffering of orphans in the Gaza Strip and to call for comprehensive care of them.
According to specialized authorities,there is nonofficial statistics or accurate illustrate of the number of orphans in the Gaza Strip, but it is estimated that the number of orphans in the Gaza Strip who are under sixteen is16.159 orphan spread over five provinces. The reports of the concerned authorities amounted the number of orphans, as a result of the recent war in the Gaza Strip, to one thousand five and hundred and eight orphan. A study in 2008 by Dr. Abd Al Aziz Thabet confirmed that the orphans are suffering from psychological and social problems most not ably the loss of self confidence as a result of the loss of beloved ones, models and friends. The study indicated that 83.5% of orphans feel very nervous when they face obstacles in practical life,besides the study pointed out that 74.5% of orphans feel horrified, panic and nervous.
The events in the Middle East in general and in the Gaza Strip in particular may make the number of orphans increasable, which will double the liability on the humanitarian institutions to provide the necessary care for orphans.
However, fifteen international institution in the Gaza Strip support orphans, and spend an estimated one hundred million dollars a year on this Strip, the efforts of these institutions to provide the needs of orphans and their intervention in the comprehensive care for orphans may be limited which necessitating the need to intensive efforts to find practical solutions to boost the role of these institutions in the completion of joint programs for the benefit of comprehensive care for orphans.
The programs of the institutions for orphans focused on frameworks of immediate relief of material guarantees or food parcels, wheretheinstitutionsensurethe distribution of guaranteesrangingbetween$ 45-55 U.S. dollars over a period rangingbetween3-4months, which means that theseprogramsseethateveryorphanneeds 0.5U.S. dollarsper dayandthismeans thatthesechildrenare livingbelow the poverty lineand can notsupply their daily needs. On the other hand, these programs remainalwaysinneed offunds provided bydonorsandsponsorswhichmay be subjectedtointerruptiondue todifficultiesin theprocess oftransferof fundsguaranteesfromabroad. Besides, the orphan-care institutions lackfora databaseof orphans which means the duplicationin the provision ofguaranteestosome of theorphansand the denial ofothers.
On the other hand, the orphan-careinstitutionsin theGaza Striplackofdevelopment programsthat are related todeveloping the skills ofthe orphanas programsof psychosocial support, tutorialeducation, or health care, thedevelopment ofcommunication skills,programsto buildleadership, in addition tothe economic empowerment ofthe poor orphans families.
The number ofthe Gazan widowsincreases on a daily basis where the proportionof them reached 6.3%ofthe totalPalestinian women(15 years and older). Widows live under stress of psychological, social and economical conditions especially if they are mothers, which doubles their suffering and responsibilities and leaves them in serious need of support and empowerment and not only relief assistance. On the other hand, the Gaza Strip lacks support programs whether psychological or physical for widows especially with their increasing numbers and increasing number of victims.
Human institutions recommend the importance of the following:
1. Establish a project of data bank of orphans and widows, where the project aims to inventory and identify the needs of these groups in order to begin building a remedial strategies to facilitate access to them.
2. Build new private care homes for orphans and widows who lost their homes, which are spread over five provinces, in addition to restoration and rehabilitation of the existing care homes.
3. Establish a fund for the poor orphan to invest the funds of orphans in development projects with long-term impact.
4. Build craft education centers for orphans where they work on the training of orphaned children over the age of fifteen who did not interested in education and are in need to learn the craft to be a source of their income.
5. A project to build a private school for orphans where the project aims to create a complete learning environment that provides integrated educational services according to the latest international standards for orphaned children for free, especially the children who have lost their breadwinner and that for all the educational stages.
6. Start economic empowerment projects for breadwinner widows, either through training or small loans.
7. Start project of leaders preparation, which aims to create a group of leaders within the category of orphans through an integrated training program on leadership skills as continuance, rhetoric, and communication with others, and others.