15-year-old Palestinian boy describes what it's like going back to school after the war

Gaza Strip Israel airstrikesREUTERS/Suhaib SalemA Palestinian shepherd herds livestock as a man sits near residential buildings, that witnesses said were heavily damaged by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, in Beit Lahiya town in the northern Gaza Strip May 25, 2015.

The war in Gaza last year killed 551 children and injured 3,436 on the Palestinian side, and killed one child in Israel where dozens more were injured, according to the Human Rights Watch.

A letter written by a 15-year-old boy published on the non-profit organisation’s website shows how the war has changed life for Palestinians.

Although the conflict ended a few months ago, reconstruction in Gaza has been very slow, according to the United Nations, and almost none of the aid promised to the Palestinians at a conference in Cairo in October has reached the territory.

Among the thousands of buildings destroyed during the conflict, half of all schools, pre-schools and universities were damaged or destroyed, according to the Human Rights Watch.

Mustafa Na’em Qannoua’ is 15 years old. During the war, he lost friends and his school was party destroyed. In a poignant letter for Human Rights Watch, he describes what it will be like going back to school at the end of his summer break:

“All year, my daily walk to school was sad. Destruction is everywhere. Our school was partly destroyed and I am so sad about that. When we started the first semester last year, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Most of the classrooms, water sinks and other facilities had been hit by missiles. In the walls of the school, you could see the bullet marks. At first we had to use bricks to sit on instead of desks and chairs in our classrooms.”

Read the letter in full here ยป

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