In light of the current painful and inconceivable circumstances that Palestinian mums and their children are facing especially in Gaza, Enas Khalaf, whom we are honored to have on the Mumzworld Experts program, launched Safe Line Initiative to provide free of charge support for the mums and children in Palestine. We spoke with Enas to know more about this initiative along with Haneen Zaqout, a psychologist and a volunteer.
Initially, Haneen spoke of the psychological and emotional impact that children are struggling with as a result of what is happening around them in Palestine. She referred to this impact as having two sides.
the way children engage with the horrible surroundings. How do they express their emotions like excruciating fear, sorrow, panic, and feeling unsafe. It can reflect on children in preferring isolation, urinary incontinence, and even stuttering or other speech disorders. This can escalate to behavioral disorders and violence.
the mental disorders and illnesses that can be caused due to these appalling events such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder and anxiety disorder. Also, children might face growth disorders and communication disorders. All of these psychological effects need a direct intervention by psychologists who are experts in post-war effects on children.
Additionally, Haneen discussed the psychological and emotional effects of war on mothers. She emphasized that it is not lesser than it is on children. On the contrary, the effect of wars on mums can be much more severe due to the stress and pressure they go under to act strong to comfort their children. Mothers will hide their fears, swallow their panic, and pile up their emotions which severely affects them later on. During wars, mums are under never ending waves of fear and helplessness being unable to protect their little ones. And no different from children, mothers face many mental disorders post war such as PTSD, panic attacks, eating disorders which all need experts intervention just as well. However, if chosen to turn a blind eye and leave those piled up emotions and trauma undealt with, mums will be unable to help themselves nor their kids.
In addition, Haneen emphasized that children of all ages are exposed to psychological illnesses and disorders during excruciating circumstances such as a war. More importantly, many studies have proven the importance of the first six years of a child’s life and how those years shape and define children for the rest of their lives. This is important because children are unable to express themselves especially when being traumatized at such an early age.
Haneen also highlighted that long term effects of trauma cannot be completely avoided nor erased. But it can be reduced and made easier to deal with through difficult war times by the help of both parents, not just the mum. Both parents can help their children understand and express their emotions and thoughts during traumatizing war times. And if they noticed unusual behaviors, they should consider counseling experts afterwards.
Safe Line Initiative
A free of charge program to provide psychological counseling to aid mothers in Palestine, West Bank and Gaza who are facing aggression and inconceivable disturbing events throughout Palestine.
This program includes 32 volunteers and tens more pending to join. It can be said that this program includes up to 60 volunteers from both Palestine and Jordan. Those volunteering ladies are social workers, psychologists, therapists, and experts in psychological counselling.
The provided support is mainly based on the needs of the mum. Mothers can reach out to Mamanet on Instagram to choose the best channel of communication whether by Instagram, WhatsApp, or a Zoom call – which can be the best choice, though not available for all.
Mamanet is an Instagram platform which is devoted to supporting and aiding parents and especially mothers by experts who work to offer professional parenting tips and advice.
How to support Safe Line Initiative?
We are having difficulties reaching out to the targeted group, which are mums in Gaza. Having said that, we understand that they are under bombing and unimaginable pain and perhaps psychological counselling might seem like a secondary luxury. However, this does not decrease the importance of receiving psychological aid and support despite all the horror. Therefore, the best way to support our initiative and program is by sharing it and telling people about it so that mums in Palestine and Gaza can reach out and receive the mental and emotional aid and support they need.
Mums in Palestine and Gaza can get free counselling through contacting the volunteers at Mamanet.