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OPEC Fund for International Development
31 July 2002
OPEC FUND PROVIDES ASSISTANCE TO
TRAUMATIZED CHILDREN IN THE WEST BANK
July 31, 2002
The OPEC Fund for International Development today extended a grant of US$160,000 in support of a project designed to provide psychosocial support to Palestinian children traumatized by conflict. The initiative will target youngsters between the ages of three and eight and is the brainchild of the Jerusalem-based non-profit NGO the
Early Childhood Resource Center
(ECRC). Over an initial period of twelve months, the project will benefit a total of 25,000 people, including children, parents and specialized teachers.
Founded in 1985 by a group of Palestinian educationalists, ECRC was set up to address the urgent needs of Palestinian children, many of whom have developed severe psychological problems as a direct result of the unstable environment in which they live. As well as witnessing killings and horrific injuries, large numbers of youngsters have had their homes destroyed and seen family members arrested and detained. Such experiences threaten to have a detrimental and lasting impact on their emotional, social, physical and cognitive wellbeing.
With co-financing from the OPEC Fund, ECRC has devised a project to provide support to these youngsters by training teachers, parents and community leaders to identify and work with traumatized children across Palestine. The primary aim will be to integrate affected children back into the community by developing their self-esteem, strengthening their coping mechanisms, and providing them with the skills to face and overcome trauma and loss resulting from the conflict and military occupation.
Initially providing coverage in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Jerusalem, Nablus and Ramallah, the project will offer therapy for traumatized children, along with workshops for parents and teachers. It will also establish a network of volunteer trauma workers, set up a national helpline, and produce and distribute learning materials, toys and games.