The Gaza Focusing Project is a joint initiative of the Focusing Institute and the Palestine
Trauma Centre. It is supported by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Galway. This voluntary project aims to provide initial training to a team of community-based facilitators in an effective and proven psychological technique known as Focusing. This technique is based on being able to listen to and cope with strong feelings such as fear, anger and anxiety. Focusing helps adults and children to develop an inner resilience in
the face of difficult living conditions. Taught to parents, teachers and to children, the Focusing technique has the potential to assist the most vulnerable children, those who have suffered trauma as a direct consequence of conflict and war. The programme is based on a very successful Focusing programme in Afghanistan. It is particularly suitable for, and respectful of Muslim culture which values privacy and inner strength. The programme is based on research conducted by the PTC into the effects of conflict. It
showed that between 2006 and 2008, 41% of children suffered from post-traumatic stress disorders, with over 300,000 in need of psychological and medical services. Since the war of 2009 this situation has deteriorated further. Much voluntary work has been done to get this project off the ground and four profession trainers are ready to travel to Gaza later in the year to begin training local community facilitators. They are offering their services on a voluntary basis. Following training the local facilitators will begin to pass on the skills to at least 300 people. Further facilitators will then be trained so that the benefits can be spread as widely as possible. The money now required to train a single Focusing facilitator is €10,000 per annum. It is hoped that the fundraising here in Galway can achieve that amount as a way to bring Hope to Gaza.