THE trustees of a local charity are appealing for funds to give specialised trauma counselling to the peers of two schoolchildren killed in Gaza.
Paul and Christine Warren, who are trustees of the Hope Christian Charity which supports many projects in the Middle East, are appealing to the public to help raise emergency funds to hire counsellors for the survivors of the latest conflict.
The trust helped them found the Lighthouse School in the Zeitoun region of Gaza 10 years ago, which has been decimated by the fallout from the rockets being hurled since the latest conflict started last month.
Paul, 72, said: “It’s not been directly bombed like we see on the television but it’s been hit by the collateral and shrapnel that are part of the bombs.
“That can all be fixed, it’s fixing the children we are concerned about.
“We know two of the pupils from the school have been killed but we won’t know the full extent of the damage to them until they come back from the holiday.
“Gaza is a densely populated, close knit community everyone will know someone close to them who has been killed by the conflict.
“All the children are so frightened. We don’t know how many will come back to the school.”
The school has 350 pupils and 25 teachers, and is situated as close to the heart of the conflict as Pine-hurst is to Rodbourne.
As well as providing education in a poverty-stricken area, teachers are given training and disabled children who are often marginalised are given the support they need.
“The school is to give somewhere for children to go, a safe place, and to educate them.
“Because of all that has happened there is a lot of fear and hatred towards the Israelis.
“Because of that they could easily choose a path which leads to terrorism.
“But by educating them and showing them love and teaching them about love, we hope it might go some way to breaking that cycle.
“It’s also about giving them the space to be children.”
- To help the trust’s work in Gaza, visit www.spanglefish.com/ hopechristiantrust.