Educating for a Just and Sustainable World 

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Our Work In Palestine

Genocide in Gaza

The Centre for Global Education has been working in the Gaza Strip since 2011 in partnership with a Palestinian Non-Governmental Organisation called the Canaan Institute which specialises in training, education and psychosocial support at a community level.  The Centre started working in Gaza because of the humanitarian crisis created by Israel's blockade of the territory since 2007 which choked off its economy and created soaring unemployment, rampant poverty and collapsing public utilities.  The blockade has resulted in severe shortages of food, medicines, fuel and other day-to-day necessities.

Israel has also launched four major military assaults on Gaza in 2008-09, 2012, 2014 and 2021 that have cost thousands of lives and decimated civilian infrastructure.  All of this preceded the current, unprecedented attack on Gaza that followed Hamas’ incursion into southern Israel which resulted in 1,139 deaths and left 8,730 injured. Since 7 October, 34,000 Palestinians have been killed, including 13,800 children and 8,400 women.  More than 8,000 people are missing, presumed dead under rubble, and 76,980 are injured.  Israel has imposed a complete siege on Gaza that includes food, water, fuel and medicines and the United Nations has declared that a famine is imminent.

Francesca Albanese, the UN Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, has reported that there are ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe that Israel has committed at least three of the acts proscribed in the Genocide Convention.  The government of South Africa has instituted proceedings in the International Court of Justice against Israel for breaches of the Genocide Convention.  For its part, the ICJ concluded ‘that at least some of the rights claimed by South Africa and for which it is seeking protection are plausible’.

Supplementing Education Provision

On 1 June 2023, the Centre for Global Education and Canaan Institute started delivery of an education programme for 400 children in Gaza, aged 6-12 years, that aimed to strengthen knowledge, skills and confidence in the areas of literacy, numeracy, talking and listening ensuring that every child in the programme reached the required learning standards stipulated in the schools’ curriculum.  The project was delivered in four locations in Gaza: Beit Lahia (northern Gaza), Deir el-Balah and Maghazi (central Gaza), and Rafah in southern Gaza. It was funded by the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) Solidarity Fund as a response to an educational crisis in Gaza caused by Israel's blockade.  A chronic shortage of school buildings in Gaza means that nearly every school has to double-shift which means that two different school populations share the same building.  One school population uises the building in the morning and has to vacate it at lunch-time to make way for a second school that uses the same building in the afternoon.  Double-shifting means that pupils receive a part-time education and struggle to maintain progress in core areas of the curriculum, particularly literacy and numeracy.  The INTO-funded programme enabled children to receive additional community-based learning in the morning or afternoon when they were not at school.  The community classes were facilitated by staff in local grassroots organisations who are trained by the Canaan Institute in the use of participative and interactive learning methodologies.

Following six months of genocidal violence in Gaza, 80 percent of schools have been damaged or destroyed and 625,000 students have no access to education.  5,479 students, 261 teachers and 95 university professors have been killed in Gaza, and over 7,819 students and 756 teachers have been injured.  The UN believes 'it may be reasonable to ask if there is an intentional effort to comprehensively destroy the Palestinian education system, an action known as "scholasticide"'.  On 6 October, the Centre for Global Education received an update on the INTO project with several photos of smiling children enjoying the company of their peers and the education activities in which they were participating.  On 7 October, the project like all day-to-day nomral life iin Gaza ended, and young people have been on the frontline of Israel's war.

Psycho-Social Support to Children

Before 7 October, UNICEF estimated that there were 500,000 children in need of psychosocial support in Gaza.  Today, that total has doubled as a result of the incessant bombardment of Gaza, the mass diplacement of civilians, the destruction of 60 percent of residential buildings and chronic food shortages impacting most of the population.  Moreover, 17,000 children are estimated to be unaccompanied or separated from their parents which amounts to one percent of Gaza's 1.7 displaced people.

The INTO-funded project provided therapeutic learning to young people through education services in four marginalised communities in the Gaza Strip.  The children selected for the programme were those experiencing the most acute forms of psychological distress and trauma as a result of the ongoing conflict in Gaza.  Through carefully facilitated educational activities and the involvement of psychological specialists, the children enrolled in the project received therapeutic learning from June to October 2023.  When the war on Gaza finally ends, the children of Gaza will need emergency mental health and psychosocial support to manage the enduring effects of the conflict's trauma.

The Centre for Global Education and Canaan Institute stand ready to provide structured activities to the 400 children on our programme and their families to support them in extending psycho-social support into the household.  We aim to help alleviate the symptoms of children's stress and enable them to resume their journey in education. The scale of the physical devastation in Gaza is enromous but there is no greater challenge than helping young recover from the mental trauma of losing loved ones, suffering serious physical injury and the loss of their homes and communities.  Education will be pivotal to this effort and CGE will do its utmost to support effective education services when the genocidal war in Gaza ends.  If you are in a position to support these important causes then please send a donation, large or small, to the Centre for Global Education using the donate button below.

You can find all documents & publications about Gaza here: CGE Publications

How to Support the Centre for Global Education / Canaan Institute's Programme in Gaza:

You can make a donation in one of the following ways:

  • Send a cheque made payable to ‘Centre for Global Education’ to 9 University Street, Belfast, BT7 1FY
  • Donate by credit card via the Centre for Global Education web site using the donate button below:

Centre for Global Education is a registered charity (number XR73713) and company limited by guarantee (NI025290).