Projects 2024

This year, Cycling4Gaza is proud to partner with Ajyal Foundation for Education for our 2024 Cycling4Justice Campaign.  We will be working together to raise awareness about the ongoing situation in Gaza and the profound emotional, social and psychological impact of war-related trauma on children. And with the help of our C4G family, we are aiming to raise £250,000 in funds for the 2024 Project: ‘Safe Spaces for Psychological First-Aid and Psychosocial Support’ 

James Elder, UNICEF

‘Ajyal’ is the Arabic word for generations, and it is an entire generation of Palestinian children in Gaza (half of the 2.2 million population) who are disproportionately impacted and who pay the heaviest price as a result of desperate living conditions brought on by a brutal and suffocating siege, and as a result of repeated exposure to war and violence.  Before October 2023, Gaza already faced a scarcity of adequate socioemotional and psychological support, and since then, the continuous bombardment, killing, starvation, and displacement have exacerbated the need for psychosocial support, with a whole generation of children in Gaza experiencing profound emotional distress and trauma-related challenges. 

Below is the testimony of one of the children in Gaza that Ajyal Foundation has worked with:

Layan, 8yo in Gaza 

This heartbreaking testimony highlights the continuous exposure to the brutal killings, forced displacement, starvation, and grief.  Such experiences compound the daily psychological and emotional turmoil affecting all the children in Gaza. Even if no longer faced with direct threat, the fear of the war remains with the children as it permeates all areas of development and daily life. These continuous adverse experiences result in profound psychological challenges such as depression, anxiety, aggression, isolation,and regressive behaviours.  If these challenges are not immediately and effectively addressed, they will be exacerbated, causing long-term health problems and detrimental impact on the children’s cognitive functioning and development. 

To address some of these urgent needs, there is a critical need for holistic interventions that prioritise the psychological well-being of displaced and traumatised children and their families. 

The project aims to:

*Establish safe and engaging spaces dedicated to empowering children in Gaza to express ongoing needs, process their emotions, cope with grief and build social connections. 

*Provide immediate psychological support by implementing psychological first aid (PFA), offering emotional awareness and stabilization, stress management, and coping strategies.

*Facilitate trauma-informed psychosocial support sessions (PSS) to at least 4,800 displaced children in Gaza, focusing on those in primary education. 

*Offer emotional debriefing sessions and psychoeducation workshops to 4000 primary caregivers/guardians, fostering supportive spaces for emotional expression and reflection and enhancing guardians’ capacity to understand and address children’s emotional needs. 

*Provide training to 208 community providers (teachers, university graduates, peer youth workers, and mental health practitioners and supervisors) in the following areas: trauma informed care; specific Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills tailored for recreational activities, screening methods to identify moderate to severe signs of mental health conditions, and structured psychosocial interventions in emergency settings.

*Conduct initial screening assessments to identify children in need of specialised  psychological interventions and facilitate their referral to appropriate support services. 

*Build local capacity for the sustained provision of psychosocial support services beyond the project duration. 

By establishing safe spaces and implementing evidence-based interventions, the project seeks to restore a sense of  hope and resilience among children who have experienced and will continue to experience violence, loss and displacement. By working with and providing training to local partners and care providers, the project aims to create sustainable, self-sufficient mechanisms in order to enable the continuation of support for children during and beyond project life.

The project will collaborate closely with local service providers and stakeholders to ensure the integration of psychosocial support into existing services and provisions and to facilitate referrals for specialised care. Local partnerships will be leveraged to maximise resources  and reach the most vulnerable populations.  Ajyal’s UK-based team, including an expert in psychology and education, will offer regular weekly support to the local team to provide additional support and guidance during the planning,  implementation and evaluation of the project.