IN PICTURES: The orphans of Gaza
There have been three Israel/Gaza wars in just six years. This means that some children have lived through three wars - Operation Cast Lead in 2008/09, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 and Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Some 6,500 children in Gaza are orphans.
Adoption under Sharia law is only allowed under specific conditions that require the child not lose his or her family name. Most children who are orphaned go to their extended family, if they are lucky enough to have a family member old enough to take on the responsibly of caring for and raising another child. If there is no extended family, or no family members claim responsibility, the child will be taken to Gaza’s only refuge for such children - al-Amal Orphanage.
Having extremely supportive extended families - aunts, cousins, grandparents - is an essential part of psychological healing after the sustained trauma of the most recent Israeli offensive, which lasted for 50 days.
However, according to reports by the United Nations, family isn’t enough. The UN estimates that 373,000 children require direct and specialised psychosocial support, while all of Gaza’s approximately 900,000 children have been affected by the war and need some level of psycho-social support.
These photos show the strength and resiliency of some of those children, in clinics and at al-Amal Orphanage.