WHEN WAR AND INSECURITY TAKE HOLD, WOMEN BEAR THE HEAVIEST BURDEN OF VIOLENCE, POVERTY AND INEQUALITY.
Since its inception in 2014, Challenge to Change has been prioritising its support for Arab women who are affected by violence, conflict and devastation, and forced to overcome the most daunting challenges. We have helped over 27,ooo women in Gaza, West Bank, and Lebanon. Mostly young females, widows, refugees, or survivors of war, conflict and abuse. Many living in extreme poverty. We remain committed to providing enduring support throughout and well beyond the current crisis.
In the midst of conflict and adversity, Palestinian women often bear the heaviest emotional burdens. The emotional scars of war can be just as debilitating as physical wounds. By offering psychosocial support, we empower these women to overcome their trauma and rebuild their emotional well-being. Our counseling, therapy, and support networks have helped many Palestinian women over the years to heal their hearts and find hope, and now the need for support has never been greater.
The Palestinian women we support and our colleagues on ground demonstrate remarkable resilience and strength, but they are significantly affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the current ongoing war.
Their experiences are multifaceted and complex, and they face a range of challenges and hardships, including but not limited to:
Access to Water and Sanitation: The blockade and the destroyed infrastructure have resulted in lack of basic services, including clean water and sanitation. United Nations report shows 92% less water sources then pre-hostilities, 65% of sewage pumping not operational, and 50% leakage in a main water pipeline between Rafah and KhanYounis. None of the 3 pipelines from Israel are functioning. Women are faced with the impossible burden of ensuring their children and families have access to clean water and adequate sanitation facilities.
Food Insecurity: Many families in Gaza are experiencing food insecurity. UN reports that the only operative mill cannot transform wheat due to electricity outage and 6 hours of waiting time to receive a half of one normal bread portion per family. Women struggle to ensure their families have food, which can have a profound impact on their mental, maternal and child health.
Healthcare Access: The destruction of medical facilities and the blockade has severely restricted the entry of essential medical supplies and equipment into Gaza, resulting in shortages of medications and limited access to medical treatment. According to UN, 1/3 of the hospitals and 2/3 of primary health care are unoperational. All 13 hospital still in operation in Gaza city and Northern Gaza have received evacuation orders. This have a detrimental impact on women’s health, particularly concerning care for the wounded, maternal care, and chronic illnesses.
Inadequate Shelter: Many Palestinians in Gaza live in inadequate housing conditions, and now many are living in overcrowded shelters or on the streets, which is especially challenging for women and their families, affecting their safety and survival. 45% of Gaza’s housing is destroyed or damaged, and the airstrikes are ongoing.
Direct and Indirect Violence: Palestinian women, like men and children, are directly impacted by violence, including bombings, shootings, and attacks. Many lose family members, homes, or livelihoods as a result of the conflict. Over 11,000 airstrikes are carried out so far in the latest atrocities to befall the people of Gaza. 76% of the population in Gaza are women and children.
Trauma and Psychological Stress: The constant threat of violence and exposure to the horrific traumatic events leads to psychological trauma, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. This has a profound impact on the mental health and well-being of Palestinian women.
Displacement: Many Palestinian women and their families have been displaced from their homes due to the conflict, either temporarily or permanently. This displacement disrupts their lives and often results in overcrowded living conditions, inadequate access to basic services, and loss of property. According to UN, over half a million women and girls have been displaced since the beginning of the current war on Gaza.
Freedom of Movement: In peaceful times, the restrictions on movement in and out of Gaza affect women who may be unable to access educational opportunities, visit family members in other regions, or travel for medical treatment. In war, they have nowhere to escape and save the children.
Economic Hardships: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has led to economic instability, high unemployment rates, and restricted access to employment opportunities across the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Even in peaceful times Palestinian women face economic hardships, making it challenging to provide for their families.
Education Disruptions: Palestinian girls and young women constantly experience disruptions in their education due to conflict, such as school closures, curfews, and transportation difficulties. This limits their access to quality education and future opportunities. According to UN, 625,000 students in Gaza are with no access to education. Over 40% of Gaza’s education facilities have been hit.
Family and Community Impact: Palestinian women often shoulder additional responsibilities during times of conflict, caring for family members, supporting their communities, and dealing with the emotional and practical consequences of loss and injury.
Gender-Based Violence: Conflict situations can exacerbate gender-based violence, and Palestinian women may be at risk of violence from various sources, including within their communities and as a result of the conflict itself.
Living Under Occupation: In areas of the Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation, Palestinian women face restrictions on their daily lives, including movement, access to resources, and economic opportunities.
Lack of Security: Ongoing conflict creates an environment of insecurity, where Palestinian women may not feel safe in their homes or communities, leading to further stress and trauma.
How You Can Help:
Donate: Any contribution, no matter how small, will make a difference in the lives of these women. Your support will enable them to find hope.
Offer counselling online: If you are a qualified Arab speaking trauma-informed counselling and therapy practitioner, consider volunteering your time.
Share: Spread the word about our campaign on social media, within your network, and to friends and family. Increased awareness can lead to more support.
Fundraise: Consider creating a sub-campaign within our initiative. Rally your community to support this cause and make a collective impact.
How Your Donation Will Make a Difference:
Counseling and Therapy: Your contribution will provide access to professional counseling and therapy for Palestinian women, helping them address their emotional trauma and find new ways to cope with their experiences.
Networks Support: We establish support groups and safe spaces where women can share their experiences, find solace in community, and support each other on their healing journeys.
Empowerment: The psychosocial support will empower these women to find strength and courage within, rebuild their lives, and contribute positively to their families and communities.
Breaking the Cycle: By addressing war trauma, we help these women break the cycle of emotional suffering, finding hope and creating a future for themselves and their families.
Support Us Today: By supporting our campaign, you are providing a lifeline to Palestinian women who are suffering immensely. Your generosity can help them find coping mechanisms, strength and hope to be able to rebuild their lives, once again after the current war. Together, we can make a profound difference in their journey toward recovery and emotional resilience.
Thank you for your support, and for standing with these resilient women.
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