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Basma Society concludes “Smile Week” in Gaza schools

As part of “The Basma Week with Basma Society” initiative, the Basma Society for Culture and Arts in partnership with Pal Think for Strategic Studies and FXB has concluded the series of large-mouthed puppet theater shows in elementary schools in eastern and western Gaza governorates. These are part of the ““Plant Seeds of Hope in Gaza Youth and Children” project which comes as an emergency intervention after the recent aggression against the Gaza Strip in May 2021.

The initiative aims at providing psychological support services for children in the Gaza Strip through puppet theater shows in which they learn many skills that contribute to their alleviation in difficult circumstances. It also empowers them with individual and collective skills that contribute to positive character-building such as positive thinking strategies, imaginations, self-expression, collaboration, and interaction.

Therefore, interactive activities were carried out with children to discuss the show, its purpose and the set of values gained from it through discussing the theatrical characters and their behaviors. Additionally, numerous psychological and entertainment activities were carried out that contributed in getting rid of whatever the child was affected by.

Ms. Rania Al Shariahi, the initiative Coordinator, confirmed that there is an urgent need for these efforts to be held with schools and carried out extracurricular activities stating that “at this particular point in time, children are in urgent need of a way to be relieved of pressure after the recent aggressive war against the Strip.

Many of those children have witnessed the bumping, destruction, loss or injury of a member of their family, relatives or neighbors which in turn affected their educational achievement and focusing as confirmed by many target school teachers during the show’s coordination.

She highlighted the importance of those activities in the development of the child’s ability to express his or her different feelings of anger, joy, sadness and fear. As it also maximizes their language skills through the dialogue as the presenters speak. In addition, the presentations contribute to enhancing the children’s memory, focusing, and attention through the remarkable and interesting scenario presented which is clearly reflected in the positive interaction of children with these presentations.

Moreover, Ms. Rania added that she had received numerous calls from school managers to advocate for such performances. This reflects the extent to which those schools needed such extracurricular activities and the success of theatre as an important and necessary entertainment tool in the life of the child too.

It’s worth mentioning that this series of presentations targeted children in schools located in areas that were most vulnerable to bombing in the latest aggression against the Gaza Strip in May 2021. It also targeted children in those areas who were directly affected psychologically and physically by the aggressive war.

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