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Dundee–Nablus

Twinning Association

رابطة توأمة نابلس دندي

Report: Lunch for Nablus

21st April 2016


We held this event to help children in Nablus who have suffered from years of military occupation. Many of them are traumatised but we can help. Through generosity of our members and others, plus the money raised at this event, we reached our target. £2,200 was sent to cover the costs of the training held in Nablus.

This project raised money to enable school counsellors in Nablus to be trained by Dr Ian Barron. Children can then be shown how to use effective and proven techniques to overcome trauma and grief.

The children of Nablus see many violent and disturbing events because they are living under military occupation. Many have one or more relations and friends who have been killed or been seriously injured. They witness military incursions and use of weapons, tear gas and worse.

Jenny Marra MSP and Ian Barron

The Children and War Foundation (Bergen, Norway) have developed a manual which includes many techniques which help the children to recognise, accept and deal with their traumas.

Lots of good conversations

We raised money for this project by holding a lunch. Dundee West Church kindly offered their hall (The Bridge) and helped us to run the event.

Ian Barron giving his talk

Dr Ian Barron (of the University of Dundee) described the problems faced by the children of Nablus. Then he explained how training with proven techniques can help them to recover.

Kitchen with people working

Hard at work in the kitchen

Ian Barron giving his talk
Sitting round a table with a cup of tea

We are pleased that Dina Mackins, an artist at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, brought an exhibition of her recent work. This covers children and war which is highly relevant to our fundraising.

We also had Zaytoun products and Hadeel crafts from Palestine available to try and to purchase.

A child's life in Nablus

Nablus lies in the Occupied West Bank and is subject to frequent Israeli military incursions as well as often violent protests against the occupation. More than half of the population of Nablus are under 20 years old and have suffered as a result of the conflict.

Studies have found that both Palestinian and Israeli children have high levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, which can leave them reliving moments of terror.

This can affect their lives in many ways, impairing family life and disrupting their schooling.

Dr Ian Barron, an Educational Psychologist at the University of Dundee, said "Children in Nablus have experienced awful horrors by a very young age.

"These include witnessing the death of a loved one, seeing mutilated bodies, family members taken away to detention, loss of friends and pets.

"They also suffer less visible losses such as schooling and identity. "All these losses can lead to flashbacks, hyper-arousal, sleeplessness, bed wetting, lack of concentration, aggression and numbing."

Effective techniques for recovery

So to help the children, Dr Barron is training schools counsellors in Nablus to use effective techniques to provide practical assistance.

He has been working with Dr Ghassan Abdullah at the Centre for Applied Research in Education (CARE) in Ramalla and the Children and War Foundation in Bergen to train counsellors in Palestine so they can help children recover from their traumas.

Training will be followed by a period of evaluation to ensure that the project is as effective as previous ones.

Dr Barron said: "DNTA's fundraising efforts are enabling training by a live Skype link between Dundee and Nablus.

"We will be using a manual produced by the Children and War Foundation, which teaches children techniques to cope with multiple and cumulative traumatic losses.

School counsellors in Nablus will be taught recovery techniques from the manual.

These include creating a memory box that helps grieving children learn to live with their loss over time.

Other skills give children techniques to be able to sleep better, learn to feel again, to rebuild self-esteem, talk out their grief, re-claim happy thoughts and have develop effect strategies for relaxation.

The current project builds on successful field trials that have benefited children throughout Nablus, the West Bank and Gaza.

Dr Barron added: "It is our determination that in a few years every child in Nablus will have been through the trauma healing programme and that children in our twinned city can reclaim their lost childhood."

Funding the project

Dr Barron's time and other elements have been donated. but a total of £2,200 is required to enable the training to proceed.

We raised over £1,100 from individual donations. One anonymous donor pledged £300, which they say is their entire winter fuel allowance.

The Lunch for Nablus event raised over £500 and DNTA made up the balance so the project was fully funded.

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FONSA

Friends of Nablus and Surrounding Areas

A Scottish charity which supports Palestinians in and around Nablus.

FONSA