Our playground program in the West Bank and Gaza has created 20 playgrounds. These playgrounds with required maintenance continue to provide fun, social interaction and respite for children in these oppressed regions.
The population of Gaza is estimated at 1.8 million people living within 225sqkm. Unemployment is in excess of 90% and 90% of people are living below the poverty line. 43.2% of the population is aged 14 and under. The median age is 18.2, (The U.S.A. median is 37.6 – CIA 2014). That means there are approximately 775,000 children in Gaza in need of safe places to play, interact and be children.
Prior to the 2014 conflict one playground was severely damaged in 2009 during “Operation Cast Lead.” It was rebuilt . We are awaiting an assessment of all playgrounds.
The blockade of Gaza – From Oxfam report:
- The blockade – now in place for seven years – has devastated Gaza’s economy, left most people unable to leave Gaza, restricted people from essential services such as healthcare and education, and cut Palestinians off from each other.
- Many key industries, such as the construction industry, have been decimated as essential materials are not allowed into Gaza. Exports are currently at less than 3% of their pre-blockade levels, with the transfer of agricultural produce and other goods to the West Bank and exports to Israel entirely banned.
17,000 homes destroyed from CBC News:
With a population of 1.8 million, Gaza is a densely populated coastal strip of urban warrens and agricultural land that still bears the scars of previous rounds of fighting.
In its report issued late Friday, August 29th,2014, Shelter Cluster said 17,000 Gaza housing units were destroyed or severely damaged during this summer’s war and 5,000 units still need work after damage sustained in the previous military campaigns. In addition, it says, Gaza has a housing deficit of 75,000 units.
Over 2,100 Palestinians, most civilians, died in the war. Israel lost 71 people, all but six of them soldiers.
Rafah In April 2010, with a solid partnership with SOS Childresn’s Village, a playground was built within two months. Working with the Canadian Revenue Agency and using secure international bank transfers, the playground was constructed from recycled materials by local manufacturers. This initiatve created jobs, dignity and a play area for more than 1,000 orphans. SOS is a social welfare organization that is politically and religiously independent. Worldwide, SOS provides more than 60,000 abandoned and orphaned children with the best possible substitute for the homes and families they have lost.
Al-Maghazi A village in the centre of the Gaza Strip. Population of 22,000. UNRWA operates 5 schools in the village for 6,400 students.This playground was completed in mid 2007.
Beit Hanoun – A village of 35,000 people in the northeast of Gaza. The most important crops are oranges, figs, grapes, apples, almonds, strawberry, and flowers. Beit Hanoun is the border area and the crossing between 1948 areas and Gaza Strip. The playground here was completed in early 2007. It was badly damaged during the 2009 conflict.
The West Bank
The population of the West Bank is estimated at 2.5 million people (CIA World Factbook). 35% of Palestinians in the West Bank are living below the poverty line. More than 700,000 are listed as refugees. 35.8% of the population is aged 14 and under. The median age is 21.3 (the Canadian median is 41).
Salfit The City of Salfit is famous for its grapes. The playground has established as a safe, outdoor environment for children.
Aqbet Jaber Refugee Camp/Jericho Aqbat Jabr camp is 3 kilometers southwest of Jericho, which is considered “the oldest inhabited city in the world”. This camp was established in 1948. Aqbat Jabr has a small population of 5,566 registered refugees.
Anata Anata is considered one of the villages within Jerusalem district located 6km north east of Jerusalem. The population of Anata is 12,000. There are open spaces that might be used for recreational or gathering activities, but due to the limited resources and limited opportunities, the village lacks public facilities (Parks, community centers, etc).
Deir Istea Deir Istiya village is located 8km to the north west of Salfit city and 15km from the 1949 Armistice Line (Green Line). The village population is 4000 inhabitants, 65% of whom are currently jobless.
Hajja/Qalqilieh Hajja village is located between Nablus and Qalqilieh, 16km away from Nablus. The village contains basic facilities and services: a clinic and child centers.
Marda A village that lies between Nablus and Salfit in the northern West Bank, with a population of 2,500 people. The prominent source of income in Marda Village is agricultural, specifically olive oil.
Jenin A city on the West Bank, Jenin is a major Palestinian agricultural center. Jenin also refers to the adjoining Jenin Refugee Camp and is the name of the surrounding district within the West Bank. The city of Jenin has a population of 34,000. The Jenin refugee camp houses approximately 13,000 refugees, according to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency). Some 42.3% of the population of the camp is under the age of fifteen. The population of the entire Jenin district is over 250,000.
Rameen A village 15km east of Tulkarem with a population of about 2000 people. There is an elementary school in the village with 400 students and a secondary school with 102 students. Residents of Ramin village depend largely on working in Israel and on agriculture as their two main sources of income.
Al Jalazon A refugee camp located north of the West Bank city Ramallah, with a population of nearly 9000.
Al Khadr A village in Bethlehem, with a population of nearly 9,600.
Al Ubeidiya West Bank village near Bethlehem, population 8,600. Village has one secondary school for girls. Saffa A village in the district of Ramallah. The village is bordered from the west by eight Israeli settlements. Saffa has a population of 4318 people.
Halhoul A community located in Hebron district with a population of 21,431 people, of whom 44.2% are under 15 years old. Halhoul is an agricultural city; 60% of its residents depend on farming. Halhoul has 5360 students attending five boys’, five girls’ and two coeducational schools.
Dhahariyah A southern West Bank village in Hebron district with a population of 27,600 people.
Qabatieh This village of 23,000 people is located 10km south of Jenin. The new playground we provided was the first ever for this village.
Ramallah Located 15km north of Jerusalem with a population of approximately 57,000 people. Hundreds of children enjoy the benefits of this playground.
Silwad We built a playground in this small village near Ramallah.