Globally, there are around 14 million Palestinians, the majority of whom are displaced. There remains approximately 5.3 million Palestinians in the Middle East on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Palestine constitutes two areas, whose precise boundaries remain disputed: the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
The lives of families here are shaped by violence, and the economic situation is affected by changing Israeli policies. Restrictions on free movement of people and goods are major obstacles for the Palestinian people and economy. The situation is significantly worse in Gaza compared to the West Bank.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Palestine since 1968.
More than 2 million Palestinians are considered food insecure with at least 1.6 million needing food assistance.
As a result, approximately a quarter of children under the age of 5 suffer from anemia, two thirds from zinc deficiency and almost all from vitamin A and D deficiencies.
Nutritional deficiencies have multiple effects on children’s physical and mental development. They can include an inability to concentrate in school and a weakened immune system.
Many Palestinian children lack access to safe schooling. In addition to ongoing conflict, many children travel through checkpoints to get to school facing harassment.
While 60% of young Palestinians say education is their priority, at least 25% of boys and almost 10% of girls drop out of school by the age of 15.
A poor educational background has a profound effect on the future of children, limiting social development, and worsening employment prospects.
Around 1.5 million people, 30% of the population, live in poverty, unable to afford food, clothing, or shelter. This is coupled with a national unemployment rate around 25%, falling household incomes and rising cost of living.
Children are disproportionately affected by the consequences of poverty, and often work or beg to help support their family.
Child labour deprives children of their rights, exposes them to violence, and physical and mental harm.