My heart is torn between East and West. I live somewhere between the present and the past. I don't know who I am.


Just another human being biding their time on this earth. Passionate about current affairs, history, politics (particularly MENA region), religion, cute animals and food.

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Posts tagged "children"

[CLICK HERE TO READ THE CAPTIONS AND TO SEE MORE DRAWINGS]

So I’ve recently been seeing this heartbreaking post of drawings made by children in Gaza a lot on my dash and I wanted to share a different perspective on this issue with you all.

The drawings you see above were also made by children in Gaza. Last year, I was part of a group working on a project initiated by Oxfam which aimed to highlight the problems facing children in Gaza today. Oxfam got in touch with primary school children from Al-Zarqa, one of the Gaza Strip’s poorest areas, and asked them to draw pictures of their hopes, fears and dreams for the future. Afterwards, their pictures were sent to us and we showcased them to the public in London. We also printed the childrens’ drawings on postcards which were sent to William Hague, the current Foreign Secretary of the UK. We asked people to write on these postcards and to call on the UK Government to prioritise children’s rights in its foreign policy work on Palestine. What struck me the most about these drawings was their sheer innocence and the simplicity of the children’s hopes and dreams. You would never guess that these scenes were drawn by children in Gaza, any child around the world could have drawn such images and this is important to note. Too often the media tries to portray Gaza’s children as future kalashnikov-wielding terrorists and suicide bombers who know nothing but violence and hatred when nothing could be further from the truth. These drawings are proof that Gaza’s children, despite the struggles and hardships that they’ve endured, dream of a better, safer and more peaceful future.

The event was very successful and  the drawings were featured in the Guardian. We were invited by an MP who saw the drawings to showcase our exhibition in the Houses of Parliament. The exhibition in Parliament was attended by many MPs as well as Sir Gerald Kaufman (who you might remember from this speech). The response from them was amazing and they were all touched by the drawings. 

The highlight of this whole experience however came after the exhibition in Parliament when we returned to the Oxfam offices and we actually got to speak to some of the children who made these drawings. They were some of the funniest, sweetest and most intelligent kids we’d ever spoken with. They told us about life in Gaza and their struggles. Just as they were telling us about the electricity cuts they experience on a daily basis, our call with them was cut. This happened several times due to an electricity shortage crisis which still plagues Gaza today. We told them about the exhibition and how many people came to see their drawings. Their happiness at hearing these words was indescribable.

I will never forget these amazing children and I hope to be able to visit them one day. Their final words to us before we said our goodbyes will stay with me forever:

"Please don’t forget us" they said. "We tell you about our struggles, you listen to us, yes, you may feel upset but we are the ones that actually experience these struggles. We have to live through the bombings and the killings. We don’t want to live like this, we want to live like normal children in the rest of the world, we want to live in peace. Please don’t forget this. Please don’t forget us"

I teach kids every Saturday at an Arabic school. We always have to supervise them at break time, especially in the toilets. So today, I walked into the toilet at break and I found 3 girls in there all applying lip gloss and mascara. They didn’t stop when I walked in so I asked them what they were doing and one girl told me that they were just trying makeup on. I asked them why?

'You look so pretty, you don't need it at all!”

'No miss, we do need it, we're so ugly.'

Nothing could prepare me for those words. Nothing. These kids are 5-7 years old. I honestly just wanted to cry. What do you say to a five year old girl who, at her age, already thinks that she’s not meeting society’s standards of what she has been told beauty should look like?

We’re raising our children, especially girls, in a society that cares only for superficiality. The impact of false advertising, retouched images, peer pressure etc. is not lost on these children. In fact, they’re the ones being affected most by such toxic messages about beauty and body image.

I am still so shocked. I felt so guilty. Our children should never have to feel like they’re too ugly, too weak, too stupid. They should never have to compare themselves to an unattainable construction, lifestyle or image.

How on earth can we allow our societies to make children feel that way? How? 

Childhood Under Fire - Syria’s children are paying the heaviest price.

Two million children trapped inside Syria are innocent victims of a bloody conflict that has already claimed 70,000 lives, UK-based charity Save the Children warned Wednesday saying that these children are under constant risk of malnutrition, disease, trauma and early marriage.

In a new report, “Childhood Under Fire,” launched to mark two years of violence in Syria, Save the Children details the impact of the conflict on children, showing that many are struggling to find enough to eat; are living in barns, parks and caves; are unable to go to school with teachers having fled and schools being attacked; and that damage to sanitation systems is forcing some children to defecate in the street.

Citing new research carried out amongst refugee children by Bahcesehir University in Turkey, the report also reveals the extent to which children have been directly targeted in the war, with one in three children reporting having been hit, kicked or shot at.

Combined with the breakdown of society in parts of the country and more than three million people displaced, the conflict has led to the collapse of childhood for millions of youngsters.

"Childhood under Fire" details how some young boys are being used by armed groups as porters, runners and human shields, bringing them close to the frontline, while some girls are being married off early to ‘protect’ them from a widely-perceived threat of sexual violence.

The report’s key findings are:

  • Thousands of children are facing malnutrition as food production is wiped out and severe shortages take hold. "Why did we leave? Hunger. Food. There was none. No bread. If I stayed my children would have died from hunger," — Rami, father of three.
  • Millions of children have been forced from their homes and tens of thousands are living in parks, barns and caves. "There were 13 of us in total, crammed into one room. We did not leave that room for two weeks."- Yasmine, 12.
  • Girls are being married off early in an effort to protect them from perceived threat of sexual violence. "My daughter is 16 and she loved school. She is innocent and very pretty. I know that men are hurting women. We could not protect her, so we had to marry her. We needed her to have a protector." — Um Ali, mother of two.
  • Families have been left without heating in winter as fuel prices have risen by up to 500 percent. "In one area of Syria where Save the Children is responding, during the bitter winter, school benches were stolen for firewood; desperate, understandable measures to stay warm, but further erosion of children"s opportunities to learn and play."- Childhood Under Fire.

"For millions of Syrian children, the innocence of childhood has been replaced by the cruel realities of trying to survive this vicious war," said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. "Many are now living out in the open, struggling to find enough to eat, without the right medicine if they become sick or injured. As society has broken down, in the worst cases, hunger, homelessness and terror have replaced school for some of these young people. We cannot allow this to continue unchecked; the lives of too many children are at stake. "

The research by the Bahcesehir University also reveals the extent to which children have been affected by war, with nearly one third of children surveyed saying that they had been separated from members of their families due to the conflict. Three quarters of those surveyed had experienced the death of a close friend or family member. Many are showing signs of emotional difficulties as they struggle to come to terms with their experiences.

Save the Children, which is providing humanitarian relief in Syria and neighboring countries, is calling for all parties to the conflict to allow unfettered, safe access to populations in need and to ensure that everything is done to bring the fighting to an end.

It welcomes pledges to fund the $1.5 billion humanitarian appeal for Syria, and calls on governments to urgently deliver the money, which is designed to target aid both inside the stricken country and to refugees living on Syria”s borders.

To shine a light of solidarity for the children of Syria, Save the Children is planning a series of vigils in 21 countries around the world on Thursday, March 14th to mark two years of conflict in Syria. The real-life vigils will be complemented by a virtual vigil amplified by a “thunderclap" — a single, coordinated message that will synchronize social media with a united voice of support for the #SyriaCrisis. Virtual supporters can simply sign up to synchronize their own messages on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Save the Children on Twitter and Facebook.

_______________________________________________

About the girl in the photo: Sana* is three years old and fled Syria with her mother and three sisters. An increasingly brutal civil war is tearing Syria apart. One million people have now fled Syria and are sheltering in neighbouring countries. Read her story.

China’s Powerful UNICEF Ad Campaign.

In 2008, the advertising firm of Ogilvy and Mather was commissioned to design an ad campaign for the Shanghai branch of UNICEF aimed at drawing attention to the over 1.5 million children who continue to live in extreme poverty in China in spite of 30 years of continuous economic growth. 

These image were part of a series of outdoor ads displayed throughout the city of Shanghai, which were also featured as print ads. The sign next to the children in the ads reads “Don’t ignore me. China has over 1.5 million underprivileged children.”

unicef:

More than 600,000 have fled the conflict in Syria and registered as refugees. The number of Syrians who have left without registering is unknown but is likely to be hundreds of thousands.

We do know, however, that children make up around half the number of refugees and that is certainly no way for any child to live their childhood.

What is going to happen and when will a Syrian child be able to simply be a child?

Follow UNICEF’s activites regarding the Syrian crisis here: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/syriancrisis_67185.html

These numbers by no means represent the true picture. The numbers you see above in the graphic are of those refugees who were able to register with the UN. Many either don’t have the right paperwork or they refuse to. I know for a fact that refugees in Egypt are 10x more than the number you see in the graphic. They’re also some of the luckiest. Refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq are living in dismal conditions. Many fled Syria with just the clothes on their backs. Children have had to pay the heaviest price due to lack of resources and supplies which has left them unprepared for the harsh winter months. A large majority also suffer from psychological trauma as a result of witnessing death and the destruction of familiar buildings and neighborhoods that used to signify safety and continuity.  

You don’t have to feel bad for these refugees. Pity and tears will do nothing for them. They need real help on the ground. Please donate and keep them in your thoughts! 

Hand In hand For Syria - Registered non-political UK charity that has verified it’s aid is entering into Syria and helping those most in need.

Syrian Orphans - A collection of Non-Profit Org’s supporting orphans in Syria

Rise 4 Humanity - Dedicated to helping the children of Syria via donations and awareness campaigns 

Humanitarian Relief For Syria - Supports needy families and orphans as well as distributing aid in Syria

Syrian Sunrise Foundation -  Promotes social and economic opportunity and growth in Syria through humanitarian relief efforts.

Syrian Assistance - Independent, Non-Profit Org of volunteers set up to raise money for the basic humanitarian needs in Syria

Medecins Sans Frontieres - The only reputable international org. with doctors and a purpose built medical facility on the ground in Northern Syria.

Syrian Expatriates Organization - Provides various medical, humanitarian and logistical aid across Syria to those that need it the most 

Kahyr Charity Foundation - Saudi based charity that provides food, blankets, monetary support and more for families in Syria 

The Maram Foundation - Supporting Syrian Refugees inside Syria, specifically the Atmeh Camp. 

The Syrian American Alliance - Non-profit organization in the USA that aims to build a new future for a unified, non-sectarian, democratic, and free Syria that respects due process, freedom of expression and human rights. 

(via darksilenceinsuburbia)

peace—now:

Jan. 29:

Palestinian refugee children play between makeshift tents in al-Zaiton, Gaza Strip.

(Photo: Ali Ali, European Pressphoto Agency)

(via )

findingpeacewithin:

youcantoccupyasmile:

This is the advertisement for a car in Israel.. This is the incident when a settler ran into these children.. in Hebrew it says “We’ll see who stands in your way”.
Press TV
(Thanks Muna for sharing)

This looks fake…

It’s not fake, well at least the incident isn’t but the advertisement is i.e. no one actually knows who made the advert and it certainly wasn’t the company because a spokeswoman for Japan Auto said that the company had nothing to do with the advertisement; “We strongly condemn these elements that are trying to harm the good name of the company.” She added that the company did not plan to take any action over the advertisement, as it has no idea where it originated from.
The incident took place last year in 2010 when a settler struck two Palestinian children with his Subaru car. The settler, known to the Israeli police, fled the scene after injuring the two children. The attack was captured on video. The victims were two Palestinian children aged 10 and 12. The 10-year-old child suffered a broken leg. The settler is at large, and is not even wanted for his crime.
The settler who rammed the children with his car was identified as David Be’eri, Director-General of the Elad settlement organization, an extremist settler real estate corporation that heavily encourages Jewish settlers to move into Palestinian neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, and provides them with financial support. 

findingpeacewithin:

youcantoccupyasmile:

This is the advertisement for a car in Israel.. This is the incident when a settler ran into these children.. in Hebrew it says “We’ll see who stands in your way”.

Press TV

(Thanks Muna for sharing)

This looks fake…

It’s not fake, well at least the incident isn’t but the advertisement is i.e. no one actually knows who made the advert and it certainly wasn’t the company because a spokeswoman for Japan Auto said that the company had nothing to do with the advertisement; “We strongly condemn these elements that are trying to harm the good name of the company.” She added that the company did not plan to take any action over the advertisement, as it has no idea where it originated from.

The incident took place last year in 2010 when a settler struck two Palestinian children with his Subaru car. The settler, known to the Israeli police, fled the scene after injuring the two children. The attack was captured on video. The victims were two Palestinian children aged 10 and 12. The 10-year-old child suffered a broken leg. The settler is at large, and is not even wanted for his crime.

The settler who rammed the children with his car was identified as David Be’eri, Director-General of the Elad settlement organization, an extremist settler real estate corporation that heavily encourages Jewish settlers to move into Palestinian neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, and provides them with financial support. 

Afghan children take part in a performance to celebrate the second “World Circus Day” on April 16, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Some 35 countries across the world are expected to host events celebrating World Circus Day, which is organised by the International Circus Federation.

By: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

"Best thing in these dark times. I still can’t smile though." School kids in Egypt showing unity and support after recent events in Cairo which left 26 people dead and many more injured - "you won’t separate us"

By: @ahmadfahmy

Taken at the ‘Women united for Syria’ rally, Trafalgar Square, London UK

"Women (and some men!) from all over the world (France, Japan, Italy, Spain, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia….) came together to show their solidarity with their sisters in Syria, who have been the victims of atrocities committed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The event had a fantastic turn out, and it raised some much needed awareness about the situation in Syria - one woman, a passer-by even joined us at one point!"

Click here to see more photos form this event!

By: - maybeyourcupoftea photography -

 

Peekers at Bofina Pub, Bujagali Falls, Kybira Village, Uganda

"Children peeking into pub."


By: Leslie Alsheimer

Schoolchildren on the beach in the Barceloneta neighbourhood, 1919

By:Josep Brangulí/ANC

Playing in the fountains, Southbank, London, England

Playing in the fountains on the Southbank, London.”

By: Chris Mole

Threads of our lives, Egypt

"It was early evening in a Bedouin camp in Egypt, whose occupants weave tapestries for a living. In the background children were playing football on the sand, kicking dusty clouds up into the air. I saw the light catch the colourful threads, stretching off into the distance and thought it looked beautiful."

By: Kerry Grainger