Many of us have a heavy heart on World Children’s Day 2023. Earlier this year, Save the Children noted, "Every child, no matter where they live, deserves to live a safe, happy and healthy life.?However, right now, one in six children around the world - over 449 million children - are living in a conflict zone."
On November 7, Save the Children reported, "Over the past month, 4,008 children have been killed in Gaza, with a further 1,270 children missing, presumed buried under the rubble. A further 43 children have been killed in the occupied West Bank, and 31 children killed in Israel, while media reports indicate that around 30 children are being held hostage. The aid agency is concerned for the physical and emotional wellbeing of children across the region – including the West Bank and Israel – and warns that children’s mental health in Gaza has been pushed beyond breaking point."
Our collective hearts break. From Azerbaijan to Yemen, children are impacted by violence. Ongoing fighting between military factions has displaced 7.1 million people in Sudan and over five percent of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Children in areas of Ukraine attend school in bomb shelters or lack access to schools and hospitals that have been destroyed. Yet numbers do not reveal the loss, brutality or suffering faced by each child in harm’s way, including those whose ‘conflict zone’ may be inside their own community or home. Even outside of conflict zones, children see, hear, and feel conflicts second-hand through the media and the emotions and conversations of the adults around them.
Each of us can choose where and how we will stand up for children directly impacted by violence and how to be present with each child in our care. Exchange Press invites your comments below, and we welcome your more in-depth stories and insights for potential inclusion on the Exchange Hub and magazine.
Resources: Talking with Children about World Conflict and Crisis
Thanks to Dimensions board president John Nimmo for contributing to this list of resources.
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Kyle, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Our feelings are powerful (and should be!) and our perspectives and understandings of these situations vary widely. Children on all 'sides' are being impacted in the worst of ways. My personal belief and hope is that if we each focus on taking care of children, more children will be saved, cared for, protected from harm.
Thank you so much for posting this. Watching what is happening to children in Gaza (as well as in other regions of the world) has been painful. The long term effects of this trauma on the children experiencing it - both physical and emotional/psychological - is unfathomable. I am more than disappointed in our leadership for supporting the horrors and seeing this as collateral damage. Ii am disgusted and disheartened by them. We need to speak up. Your piece may give some who are reluctant the needed boost and data to do so.