UNESCO supports the culture sector in the Gaza Strip
In May 2021, a 11-day conflict in the Gaza Strip led to the complete or partial destruction of important cultural infrastructure, including educational and cultural facilities and institutions, as well as material losses in equipment, archives, art collections and rare books, among others.
With the aim to assess comprehensively the impact on the cultural sector in Gaza, the UNESCO Ramallah Office, through support from the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund, is conducting a series of activities, including a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), capacity-building workshops, as well as urgent interventions for cultural centers, practitioners and artists in Gaza.
The key urgent interventions include the implementation of workshops in the field of music, theatre and fine arts specifically designed for artists who were affected by the conflict. Targeted psychosocial support will also be provided to traumatized youth and children by giving them the opportunity to engage in interactive activities and to express themselves through artistic means.
Tania Mourtaja, the Executive Director of Ayyam Al Masrah – Theatre Day Productions in Gaza, and with whom UNESCO is partnering to implement some of these interventions, said: “Our drama scripts usually mirror the trainees’ own narratives and reflections. With the support of UNESCO and through our experienced trainers, we will be using theatre as a tool for healing, where the participants will have the chance to express themselves”.
UNESCO is also launching this month urgent stabilization and consolidation works at the historic building of El-Wehidi House, which will serve as a new premises for the Basma Society for Culture and Arts, whose former home was lost during the conflict.
These activities are part of the activity ‘Post-Disaster Needs Assessment and urgent interventions in the Gaza Strip’ supported by the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund through the generous support of the following donors: the Qatar Fund for Development, the Kingdom of Norway, the French Republic, the Government of Canada, the Principality of Monaco, ANA Holdings INC., the Republic of Estonia, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Principality of Andorra, the Slovak Republic, and the Republic of Serbia.