By Ebhan Loughlin
An exhibition of photographs about child labour in the Gaza Strip, many taken from a child’s-eye perspective, is open to the public in Galway city this week.
‘Legacy of Hope: Children of the Gaza Strip’ will be shown at St Nicholas Collegiate Church on Market Street until this Saturday May 31.
The exhibition is organised by Christian Aid in conjunction with St Nicholas Collegiate Church (Church of Ireland ) and Galway United Methodist and Presbyterian Church.
At the launch of the exhibition, special guest speakers ,Galway West TD Derek Nolan, who has visited Gaza with Christian Aid, Christian Aid CEO Rosamond Bennett, and Galway singer Treasa Ní Cheannabháin, shared their personal experiences of travelling to the region.
Many children in Gaza have experienced war, conflict, and insecurity during their lives, leaving many with physical and psychological effects. A local Gaza organisation supported by Christian Aid, called the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA ), provides a safe place for children to play, learn, and interact with each other, and offers counselling and other services to help them overcome their trauma. The aim of this exhibition is to tell a story about the legacy of hope that both CFTA and the children have been building through their campaign work.
Andrew Coleman from Christian Aid, which is organising the exhibition, said it shows that the children’s campaigning does make a difference: “This exhibition captures what life can be like for so many children who live in the Gaza Strip. Against a backdrop of poverty and on-going conflict, CFTA provides a safe place for children not only to play and learn, but to join together and make their voices heard. This is the legacy that they leave behind for the next generation.”
The Gaza Strip is the most impoverished place in the Middle East. More than 75 per cent of the population is dependent on humanitarian aid and unemployment runs at 39 per cent. This high rate of unemployment forces many children into work in order to help provide for their families.
The ‘Legacy of Hope’ exhibition features the work of Christian Aid partner, the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA ), a local organisation that runs community activities for children, young people, and women in the Gaza Strip.