Who does TYO serve?
TYO serves children, youth, and parents from the most disadvantaged areas of Nablus (four refugee camps, the Old City, and Khallet al-Amood).
Children who come to TYO suffer from traumatic events early in their lives, poor nutrition, poverty, and inadequate educational services. Classrooms are overcrowded and ill equipped to provide them with necessary individualized attention.
Refugee children lack the physical space for adequate exercise. Population density in Nablus’ 605 square kilometers numbered 530 persons per square kilometer in 2007, which is expected to rise due to population growth (UNRWA). Between 1997 and 2007, Nablus experienced more than a 20 percent growth in population. Natural population growth in refugee camps further compounds the lack of open space for children to play and exercise.
In addition to a lack of sufficient exercise space, Palestinian children suffer from poor nutrition. According to the UNRWA, an estimated 22 percent of Palestinian children experience acute or chronic malnutrition. The issue is exacerbated among refugee children, whose diets lack healthy levels of protein for normal development. More than a third of households interviewed by UNRWA noted an inability to meet immediate food needs and another 53 percent felt either financially secure for less than six months or unable to manage financially at all. Refugee camps have up to 30 percent unemployment rates, but even individuals employed on average live on less than 20 dollars a day (UNRWA).
The omnipresence of violence results in ubiquitous fear among young Palestinian children (UNRWA). Nearly 70 percent of children from refugee camps report either moderate or severe reactions to trauma. This extreme trauma at an early age often stems from the (sometimes violent) loss of a family member, late-night house searches or imprisonment, and more. The effects of these scarring events also impact their families, particularly parents who struggle to raise happy and healthy children in such a difficult environment.
In response to their trauma, children demonstrate signs of withdrawal, persistent nightmares, anxiety, the inability to deal with emotions such as anger, and attention deficiency. Furthermore, early childhood experiences of trauma can permanently affect brain circuits regulating stress and emotion. Trauma strips children of their childhoods, and TYO hopes to help some kids regain it in an educational environment through psychosocial programming that fosters critical personal development.