ANERA’s Gaza office was transformed into a classroom for 26 preschool teachers from across Gaza who gathered for a training session on health and nutrition.
The training sessions were organized by ANERA’s Milk for Preschool Program (MfP) in cooperation with Secours Islamique France (SIF). A specialized team of nutritionists and doctors from Impact Consulting, Inc. conducted the classes. The program is a part of MfP’s overall mission to fight malnutrition.
The purpose of the 150-hour training program was to provide in-depth familiarization for teachers from marginalized areas on nutrition, psychosocial awareness and support for preschoolers. The training program is divided into four parts: two days for nutrition, one day for first aid, one day for personal hygiene, and two days for psychological support.
“This is my first time attending this type of comprehensive training,” said Randa Khalil, a teacher at Hiteen School. “I have acquired a new mechanism for dealing with children and correcting so many wrong concepts.” Randa has been working with kids for 12 years and welcomed the opportunity to learn some new skills and receive a package of information to share with her fellow teachers, parents and the children.
She described the training as a valuable experience. “I used to consider the children who preferred to stay alone or in the corner as fearful of something. I never thought it could also be the result of malnutrition, suppression of emotions or an accident,” she said. Randa also echoed her fellow teachers’ delight at meeting and sharing their experiences with colleagues from other preschools.
Teachers learned ways to help develop social and communication skills through creating a positive environment for learning and growth. They also acquired skills in first aid awareness and post-trauma psychosocial support, which were added to the program this year. The new focus helped educate teachers across Gaza on how to deal with children’s emotional needs for stability and security.
Najah, a trainer from the Palestinian Benevolent Association, also offered helpful hints on nutrition and healthy food for preschoolers. Najah has been working as a trainer for 29 years. She was delighted by the teachers’ enthusiastic participation. “They receive a lot of interesting information, and they keep asking for more.”