gaza-unicef-school-children.jpgWith the return of hundreds of thousands of children to school in Gaza, UNICEF is providing essential educational equipment and materials to re-establish learning and recreational activities, create safe environments, and help restore a sense of normalcy for children in Gaza.

This week a UNICEF Representative, Patricia McPhillips, visited Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, where two UNICEF tents are serving as temporary learning spaces for girls, whose school was completely destroyed. The girls are attending classes during the afternoon shift. Four additional tents will be set up in the coming days to accommodate additional students.

“The return to school provides an important opportunity for children to interact, play, rebuild their routines, and overcome distress,” said McPhillips.

130 school-in-a-box kits were delivered in Gaza to supply 10,400 school-aged children with exercise books, pens and pencils, along with 42 Mathematics and 42 Science kits for 4,200 students. In addition, UNICEF provided 84 recreational kits, containing sports and entertaining items, for 6,720 kids. UNICEF has also supplied the Ministry of Education with 12,000 water bottles targeting an equal number of school students.

Reports so far estimate that seven schools were completely destroyed, and many more were damaged. Educational material, including text books and stationary were also lost. Schools are operating in double – even triple shifts – to accommodate those children, whose schools were destroyed.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Education reported an 80 percent attendance rate at their schools with around 450,000 children attending classes.
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