A drawing by a 7-year-old who is living in conflict in Gaza.

After a wave of violent bombing, 7-year-old Nana drews this picture, in which there is a house, a garden, a sweet sun and a clear sky free of swarms.

"We did not cry for the future because we did not know if we had a place in it."

In conflicts, children are especially vulnerable and experience unique hardships compared to adults. They suffer physical harm, disruptions in healthcare and education, hunger, malnutrition and witness traumatic events. These experiences have both immediate and long-term mental and emotional consequences. Yes, children can be resilient—but they must be given the tools and care they require to do so.

The only way to truly protect children's lives is for all parties to conflict to respect international humanitarian law, and protect civilians and civilian infrastructure—such as hospitals and schools. All parties must focus on keeping children and families safe, ensuring they can access urgent assistance, and bringing an end to the fear and suffering.

Here, 7-year-old Nana* and her father, a Save the Children staff member, share their story from Gaza where, like the stories coming out of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, are the stuff of nightmares.

Children are paying the highest price for a conflict they have no part in.

"Little Nana ran to me, Baba, as usual because it was safe for her, but with the roar of the swarms of killing in the sky, hovering above like a terrifying nightmare, swimming in the warm sky of our neighborhood that is filled memories. In a moment the world is lit with a great light, we all fall to the ground and try not to hear, hugging each other, through inhales and exhales, Nana tells me: 'I love you, Baba.'"  

The darkness turned into hell with the smell of gunpowder and blood.

Especially in the dark, while I am hugging my little girl, who with a fragile made up confidence, tells me shivering, 'Baba, I am not afraid, but nervous!' 

I try to hug her and feel the heat of her small body, as if we had become one body. My feeling of helplessness was undoubtedly the worst.

After a wave of violent bombing, Nana draws a picture, in which there is a house, a garden, a sweet sun, and a clear sky free of swarms. She did not draw birds in the sky, she wanted the sky to be clear, but she did draw clouds. Maybe she’s even become afraid of birds.  

She started explaining her plans, 'if we stayed alive,' we would always stay together and go to aunt’s and grandpa's house. But Nana doesn't know that her aunt’s house has evaporated, and her grandfather’s house has taken its memories, details, warmth, family gatherings, birthdays, our joys and tears, and become rubble.

I tried to be a source of strength for the family, but I cried once, twice, and three times, and we cried with each other and over each other. We cried for the past and the present. We did not cry for the future because we did not know if we had a place in it."


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