Successive Israeli attacks on Gaza have traumatized children and caused psychological problems. Physical activity improves mental and physical health. The Big Ride is teaming up with MECA to raise funds for a new sports program in Gaza schools.
Successive Israeli military assaults have killed thousands and left the entire population traumatized. The UN estimates 300,000 children in Gaza show signs of severe psychological distress including bed-wetting, nightmares, aggression, and difficulty eating, sleeping or speaking. Gaza is one of the most densely populated places in the world and there are few places for children to play, especially in the refugee camps. Social restrictions further impede girls' access to outdoor sports.
MECA will use your donations to offer children in Gaza's refugee camps a chance to learn and practice different sports. Young women and men will teach volleyball, football, running, cycling and more to 600 children at UN schools in the refugee camps. The school yards are among the safest places in Gaza and will bring activities to the children so they don't have to leave their neighborhoods. We will also organize open sports days for families to involve the parents and siblings in the project.
Studies show that physical activity reduces mental health problems. This project will contribute to psychosocial efforts to help children in Gaza to heal and make them more resilient against the risks of severe anxiety, depression, aggression and withdrawal. The project is particularly vital for girls who rarely have the chance to learn and practice sports. This is just the pilot phase and we plan to expand the project to more locations in the future.