Palestinian Children Welfare
The Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund is an NGO that seeks to help children throughout Palestine. While the Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund has been no stranger to controversies due to the area that they carry out their work, they are a reputable organization. They have helped to educate, clothe, and feed Palestinian children.
That being said, many people do regard there being far, far better organisations to donate your money to if you are looking to help Palestinian Children. This is because the Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund is known for having slightly more radical views. If you do want to donate cash, then you can work with UNICEF, and they carry out much the same work that the Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund carries out.
In the Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza), where we live, the reality is very different for too many children under the age of five, who represent more than 14% of the Palestinian population:
Only 34% of children in the Palestinian Territories attend early childhood education and care programs. Only 46% of the children in these territories participate in some development activity and 96% are disciplined with violence, which leads to considerable deficits in their social and emotional development.
The inequality in child development exists on many different levels, especially in the areas of nutrition (delayed growth affects 12% of children) , development activities and education.
There is no public system for early childhood institutions, such as kindergartens and pre-schools. They are mostly private, they can choose their own curriculum and are accessible to a limited number of families only.
But things are changing!
The message about how important the early years are to a child’s development is spreading rapidly. The Palestinian Authority – the governing body of the Palestinian Territories – is placing increasing emphasis on investing in Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Early Childhood Intervention. In 2017, the “National Strategy for the Development and Early Childhood Intervention”, a pioneering initiative in the region, was approved and endorsed . The Strategy prioritizes the holistic development of young children, from pregnancy to age five.
Focusing on early intervention is important to the Palestinian government. Recognizing children at risk and with developmental delays early is vital to introducing services that will allow them to achieve the same level as their peers and prevent disabilities and exclusion that in many cases last for life. Many health and social programs in the Palestinian Territories, where the prevalence rate of disability is estimated at 6.9% (WHO estimates suggest that the rate is even higher), they are intended for children with disabilities and their families.
But these programs face problems in achieving better results. In addition, until recently, there was a lack of early detection tools to identify children with developmental delays, allowing for early interventions. Thus, developmental delays are recognized late, often only when children enter school.
The approval of the National Strategy has generated an impetus for action to deploy ECD activities in the Palestinian Territories. There is a strong commitment to ECD and early intervention and many instruments have already been developed to improve outcomes in both fields:
Creation of a working group on ECD at the national level and one in Gaza. Introduction and training of behavior and development scales / development assessment instruments and monitoring of children from one month to six years.
- Guide for behavioral and developmental scales.
- Parental Education Curriculum from zero to three years and from three to six years.
- Training (on-site, conferences, supervision, counseling sessions) of health and education professionals.
- Educational materials for parents and educators.
- Monitoring of the child development database.
- Creation of supervision checklists.
Despite these achievements, there are still many challenges There is a need to improve collaboration and cross-sectoral networking among all stakeholders, including the local community. Challenges include a shortage of skilled health personnel and psychosocial workers, pediatric neurologists, and speech therapists. Also, more and high-quality training is needed for service providers.
More advocacy and awareness activities are required to convey knowledge about the importance of developing early learning and positive parenting activities for child development. The UNICEF Study of Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices on ECD in Palestine found that more than half of the parents interviewed (56%) reported that they never read to their children. A strong distrust of out-of-home care prevails: only 50% of parents trust ECD professionals to stimulate the social and emotional development of their children. Hence the importance of kindergartens should be better promoted, as they are often the only space where children receive adequate stimulation and early learning activities.
It is necessary to develop awareness-raising efforts on affective care, gender equality in parental behavior and parenting styles free of violence. Parents are often unaware of parenting options and unaware of the impact violent discipline can have on their children’s development.