In the bustling courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central Gaza Strip, psychologist Mohamed Abushawish has created a haven to offer early psychological support to children seeking refuge. Within the hospital’s walls, amidst Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza, Abushawish engages children in various activities aimed at easing their distress. This article delves into the poignant stories of these children and sheds light on the urgent need for psychological aid during times of conflict.

Families Seek Shelter in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital

Amidst the turbulent war in Gaza, approximately 300 families have turned to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital for shelter and safety. Following orders from the Israeli authorities, residents of Gaza City in the north were compelled to relocate to the southern side of the Strip. This influx of families has increased the demand for psychological assistance for children.


A Glimpse of Hope Amidst Tragedy

Within Abushawish’s circle of healing, timid children join hands, finding solace amongst their peers. 10-year-old Hamsa Irshi, with a radiant smile, claps along with the other children. Hamsa shares the heart-wrenching story of her family’s departure from their home in the al-Daraj neighborhood of eastern Gaza City. Tragically, Israeli air raids targeted her uncle’s house, claiming the lives of their entire family. Hamsa’s family miraculously survived, sustaining minor injuries and narrowly escaping from beneath the rubble. Despite her fear and pain, Hamsa actively participates in the mental support activities at the hospital, expressing her longing for the war to end and striving to find a sense of safety once more.

Cricket World Cup 2023

Yearning for Normalcy Through Activities

12-year-old Malak Khatab, who usually resides in the Deir el-Balah camp, beams with joy after engaging in the therapeutic activities at the hospital. Malak shares the chilling experience of her family’s terror when their neighbor’s house was bombed just a week ago. Awakened by falling debris and a deafening explosion, Malak found herself trapped under rubble, her father desperately trying to shield her. Eventually, civil defense teams rescued them. Left with extensive damage to their home, the Khatab family sought refuge at the hospital, where they presently sleep on the ground. The children who have endured such trauma yearn for more activities to uplift their spirits and help them cope.

UNICEF Support

Lingering Scars of Loss and Trauma

In the hospital yard, 12-year-old Anas al-Mansi lies on a mattress, seemingly disconnected from the activities surrounding him. Persuaded by his uncle, he shares his disinterest with Al Jazeera, stating he lacks the desire to partake in anything. Anas recounts the tragic loss of his father and aunt in an air attack on their Deir el-Balah home a week ago. Amidst the chaos, all Anas can recall is his father’s final words, urging them to recite the “Shahadatain.” Anas reveals the physical scars he carries, reflective of the harrowing incident. His brother, too, is unable to walk due to severe back injuries, and their mother remains hospitalized with leg injuries. Anas expresses his yearning for the war to end but firmly believes that life has been extinguished amidst the ongoing conflict.

The Vital Role of Mental Health Support

The mental health unit at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital recognizes the urgent need to support these children. Many have experienced the loss of loved ones, displacement, and physical injuries, profoundly impacting their psychological well-being. Abushawish emphasizes that these children exhibit distressing symptoms, both mental and physical, as a direct consequence of the relentless bombings in Gaza. Such symptoms include abdominal pain, headaches, foot pain, involuntary urination, and rapid heartbeats. Recognizing the vulnerability of children, Abushawish stresses the significance of providing therapeutic activities as an initial aid to alleviate the trauma.


Amid Gaza’s conflict, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital is a sanctuary, offering refuge to children in the midst of ongoing turmoil. Through the dedicated efforts of psychologist Mohamed Abushawish and his team, these brave children find temporary solace amidst their suffering. Amid conflict, vital psychological support helps alleviate war’s impact on children, showcasing human resilience, empathy, and shared humanity’s significance.

By Anup Tiwari

Complete Graduation From Calcutta University. Blogging since last 7 Years on multiple platforms.

One thought on “Caring for Young Minds: Gaza’s Children in Conflict”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *