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GAZA – A team from the Gaza Circus School travels between shelters in the central and southern Gaza Strip to offer recreational circus shows to displaced children, in order to alleviate the psychological pressure they have faced since the outbreak of the Israeli war.

In a random shelter set up by the displaced in the courtyard of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, the team presented on Thursday, November 23, an entertainment show that won the admiration of the children and their families.

The children, who have been living in tragic conditions since the beginning of the war launched by Israel on Gaza since October 7, 2023, reacted to the show held among the tents of the displaced, which varied between entertainment and others that included circus shows.

The Gaza circus team presents an entertaining show at a shelter in Gaza City to support children psychologically (Al Jazeera)

The team leader, Mohammed Abu Obeid, said they are implementing a volunteer project called "Happiness Guide", which aims to provide "psychological first aid" to children in shelters in the central and southern Gaza Strip.

Abu Obaid told Al Jazeera Net that these shows ostensibly carry an entertaining form, but they mainly seek to provide psychological services for children.

"Every day we visit one or two centres and give shows to about 200 to 400 children," he said.

The Gaza circus team consists of displaced people working to provide recreational services for children (Al Jazeera)

Abu Obaid said the team receives financial support from Italian and Spanish volunteers to deliver these performances.

"Most of the players of the Gaza circus team are now also displaced, and they are working to provide entertainment services for children," he said.

"We started work a week ago, and we have received many appeals from the centres' officials to present offers," he said.

Children interacted with the show held between the tents of the displaced, which presented entertainment and circus shows (Al Jazeera)

Abu Obaid expressed his great happiness with the reaction of the children, who react strongly to the shows, which indicates their desire to return to their normal lives, noting that they feel the disappointment of the children when the performances end.

"We are trying to relieve the psychological pressure on children, this is a psychological first aid, which of course is not enough, these children must be presented to psychiatrists immediately, all we do is try to return them to their normal state, and of course our work is not enough."

Gaza circus team leader Mohammed Abu Obeid caress a Palestinian girl at a shelter (Al Jazeera)

The mental health consultant at the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Dr. Mohammed Abu Shawish, said in a previous statement to Al Jazeera Net, that the Israeli occupation deliberately provokes a state of terror in the hearts of all segments of Palestinian society, including children.

The psychological consultant pointed out that what Israel is currently practicing "leaves a difficult mental image in the hearts of children, leaves them in a state of motivation, and leaves them with physical effects such as colic, soreness in the legs, headache, inability to sleep, bedwetting, and sticking to parents," stressing that "all physical wounds heal with time, but the psychological scars that occur in the hearts of people need a long time to heal."

"Children believe that being with parents is safe, and that the house is safe, as well as the hospital, school and mosque, and these concepts have been distorted in the hearts of children, and will need long periods to recover and restore, and this will extend for generations, not just for this generation," Abu Shawish said.

Source : Al Jazeera