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Palestinian Social Workers on the Frontline

A Palestinian child at a house destroyed by bombs in Gaza. Photo courtesy of Occupied Palestine blog.

Social workers in Palestine sprang into action to help children when armed conflict recently broke out with Israel, according to this article in Great Britain’s The Guardian by Dr. Rory Truell, director-general of the International Federation of Social Workers.

Truell contacted colleagues in Palestine to find out how they were coping.

Child protection social worker Riad went to local media to persuade editors not to post graphic photos of dead people that could further traumatize children.

Riad also went to schools to train teachers on how to help pupils deal with the social and psychological impact of the bombings.

For instance, in order to help children vent he encouraged teachers to give them each five minutes to talk about how their families were affected.

Another social worker named Mohammed couldn’t get to his office due to the bombings, so fretted over not being able to assist his youth and elderly clients.

A fragile cease fire was negotiated. Mohammed said there is much work to do when bombings end.

“When the bombing stops, we will rebuild. There are so many people who will need social work to overcome their grief and loss and we will have a lot of work to do.”

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