<![CDATA[AJYAL FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION - Ajyaluna Blog]]>Thu, 11 Jul 2024 04:24:54 +0100Weebly<![CDATA[Starvation is a Weapon of War]]>Fri, 28 Jun 2024 14:10:42 GMThttp://ajyalfoundation.org/ajyaluna-blog/response-to-the-ipc-report-on-the-risk-of-famine-in-gazaPicture
On 25th June, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) published a report on food scarcity and the risk of famine in the Gaza strip. The report indicates that ongoing violence and restriction to humanitarian access continue to facilitate the risk of famine. It also describes the reality in Gaza as “catastrophic.” The combination of restricted access of humanitarian aid, elevated price levels, fuel shortages, and the sheer level of destruction done to infrastructure in Gaza has resulted in serious food insecurity for all of Gaza. Amartya Sen (1983) in Poverty and Famines has famously argued that famine is not caused by food shortages but by lack of access to food. Furthermore, leading scholars on famine argue that famine and famine mortality are wholly preventable by governments (Plümper & Neumayer, 2008). The mass starvation and malnutrition in Gaza is the direct result of ongoing bombardments, blockades, and restriction of aid into Gaza. International organisations like Human Rights Watch have further argued that starvation is being used as a weapon of war in Gaza, which is a war crime under international law. Drawing together the conclusions of the IPC report and contemporary scholarship on famine, the need for a lasting ceasefire is even more urgent. 
Hunger and malnutrition have serious impacts on health, particularly for children. The IPC report indicates that children under five are showing “extremely critical levels of morbidity” where as much as 85% of children under five had one or more diseases in the past two weeks (pages 16-17). Compounding shortages of clean water and access to toilets contribute to the high levels of disease among children. Scholars like Alex de Waal argue that famine cannot be reduced simply to the notion of extreme hunger and mass death by starvation. Rather, famine should be understood as extreme deprivation that seriously impacts human health, including but not limited to starvation. In fact, many scholars argue that many deaths during famine are not caused by starvation but by diseases that run rampant in the kinds of circumstances that exist alongside famine. Diseases like cholera, tuberculosis, and even influenza have detrimental impacts on malnourished bodies. Malnutrition leaves the body unable to fight off infections and diseases, meaning otherwise mild diseases become deadly during famine. When combined with the deprivation of resources like clean water, adequate hygiene, and sanitation systems, more deadly diseases like cholera become a serious concern. 
Contemporary scholarship on famine calls us to look beyond food availability and focus instead on root causes of deprivation and the impacts of malnutrition on health more broadly. De Waal (2024) recently described the food emergency in Gaza as “the most severe recorded in recent decades,” even in comparison to the famines recorded in Somalia (2011), Sudan (2024), and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2024). He argues that not only is an immediate ceasefire needed to end the crisis, but long-term, sustained specialized emergency nutrition and health response is required. The level of malnutrition ongoing in Gaza requires specialised medical care to address, not just the influx of food. 

At Ajyal, we believe that the dire and inhumane circumstances that the civilian population is facing in Gaza can only be truly addressed by a lasting, sustainable ceasefire and just solutions to the conflict that are based on the basic tenets of international law including the equal right of all peoples to self-determination free from foreign domination, in combination with unrestricted flows of aid into Gaza. We believe that any interventions aimed at addressing famine in Gaza must consider the lasting physical and mental impacts of malnutrition and starvation. We invite other organisations to develop immediate and long-term strategies that are holistic in their approaches and extend beyond the provision of food. We call on everyone in the Ajyal community to take part in peaceful actions to advocate for these aims. 

Human Rights Watch (2023) Israel: Starvation used as a weapon of war in Gaza. 18 December. 
Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (2024) Famine Review Committee: Gaza Strip, June 2024. 
Plümper, T. and Neumayer, E. (2009) Famine mortality, rational political inactivity, and international food aid. World Development, 37(1), pp. 50-61.
Sen, A. (1983) Poverty & Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation
de Waal, A. (2005) Famine That Kills : Darfur, Sudan. Oxford University Press, Incorporated, Oxford. 
de Waal, A. (2024) Famine in Gaza: an example of the global humanitarian crisis. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 119 (6), pp. 1383–1385.

By Allison Whitenack

Projects & Impact Manager

<![CDATA[Reflecting on Gaza: World Refugee Day 2024]]>Thu, 20 Jun 2024 16:14:35 GMThttp://ajyalfoundation.org/ajyaluna-blog/reflecting-on-gaza-world-refugee-day-2024
​The UN has designated 20th June as World Refugee Day to recognise and raise awareness for those who have had to flee their homes to escape violence or persecution. At Ajyal Foundation for Education, our work focuses on supporting the education and welfare of Palestinian and refugee communities.
We call attention to the ongoing displacement that Palestinians have been experiencing for the past 75 years. Today, we are witnessing this process of displacement persist amidst the continuing bombardments on Gaza. Prior to October 2023, about 66% of Gaza's population were refugees from other areas of Palestine displaced during the Nakba of 1948. Now, almost the entire population of the Gaza Strip has been displaced by the Israeli assault, and many have been displaced multiple times. 
On World Refugee Day, we draw attention to the experiences of displacement in addition to the detrimental impact of displacement on mental health, physical health, education, and general welfare - particularly for children. We remind our community that children bear the brunt of the trauma of displacement and war, and this impact on children in Gaza is unfathomable. 
On this World Refugee Day, our calls must be louder for an immediate and lasting CEASEFIRE and the unconditional flow of aid into Gaza. 
We call on everyone to take part in peaceful actions and activities to demand these outcomes.
<![CDATA[Welcoming Dr. Caesar Hakim]]>Fri, 14 Jun 2024 09:11:24 GMThttp://ajyalfoundation.org/ajyaluna-blog/welcoming-dr-caesar-hakim
Ajyal is honoured to welcome Dr. Caesar Hakim to the team as he joins our work supporting children in Gaza through one of our key projects, Safe Spaces for Psychological First-Aid and Psychosocial Support.

Dr. Hakim, clinical psychologist, Assistant Professor at An-Najah National University and Honorary Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, UK, brings invaluable experience to the Ajyal team. He has co-developed Curcum’s trees, a decolonial healing guide for community health workers and practitioners, aimed at promoting well-being of Palestinians amidst the historical oppression and dehumanizing conditions imposed in the region. This collaboration is crucial as we operate within a socio-political context with unique needs and circumstances.

Follow us on social media to learn more about the Safe Spaces project and Dr. Hakim’s work with Ajyal.
<![CDATA[Ajyal Featured in the Shireen Abu Akleh Memorial Lecture at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa]]>Wed, 22 May 2024 09:08:58 GMThttp://ajyalfoundation.org/ajyaluna-blog/ajyal-featured-in-2nd-annual-shireen-abu-akleh-memorial-lectureOn 8th May 2024, Ajyal was featured at the second annual Shireen Abu Akleh Memorial Lecture at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. The theme of this year's lecture was "The Responsibility of the Academy in a Time of Genocide." The keynote speaker of the even was Dr. Naledi Pandor, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation in South Africa who spoke about the deep connections between Palestine and South Africa in global anti-apartheid movements. She highlighted the decimation of education and academic infrastructure by the current ongoing onslaught on Gaza, resulting in the destruction of all universities in Gaza, numerous libraries, and the central archives. Other key speakers included Mr. Ronnie Kasrils, Mr. Zane Dangor, Professor Samia Botmeh, and Advocate Diana Buttu.
​Just before Pandor's speech, a video was played which included Ajyal's campaign on educide in Palestine. The full video from the event is below, Ajyal is featured at 14:24.
Ajyal is honoured to have been spotlighted at this powerful and influential event, and we will leave you with one of Pandor's closing sentiments: "We owe our responsiveness to the people of Palestine." 
<![CDATA[Liberation Psychology]]>Mon, 20 May 2024 10:23:50 GMThttp://ajyalfoundation.org/ajyaluna-blog/liberation-psychology
Ajyal’s project ‘Safe spaces for psychosocial support’ supporting children in Gaza is grounded in liberation psychology

Liberation psychology adopts an anti-oppressive approach in understanding oppressed nations like Palestinians in Gaza, where everyday life is interwoven with trauma and dehumanisation.
This approach shifts focus from individual symptoms to the collective, historical and cultural roots of individual suffering and psychological challenges, emphasizing that well-being cannot be separated from the context of oppression and occupation.
It challenges the standard mental health practices that often pathologise responses to systemic violence as individual disorders. Instead, liberation psychology fosters resilience and self-determination alongside the pursuit of social justice, empowering both individuals and communities.
By understanding trauma through the lens of collective experiences and resistance against the oppressors' atrocities, liberation psychology helps prevent the internalisation of oppression and supports a communal path toward healing and emancipation.
Source: adopted from Paulo Freire, Ignacio, Martín-Baró and Ibrahim Makkawi.