The relief agencies began running buses on June 2 so the students could go back to school for the first time since fighting began on May 20.

 

As a direct result of the conflict, children from both camps have missed almost two weeks of school at a very critical time in their academic calendar.

 

Senior students are due to write their baccalaureate exams in order to qualify for university while, for younger students, the "Brevet" exam is mandatory before pursuing secondary school education.

 

Securing their future

 

"Getting to school helps secure our future – it is the only way for us"

Fitnat, student
Fitnat, one of the students preparing for the Brevet exam, said that she was happy to be back in school: "Getting to school helps secure our future – it is the only way for us."

 

While many children have been able to turn to their exams to escape the fighting, others have been deeply affected by the conflict.

 

As a result, Unicef has been working with its partners to strengthen recreation programmes and psychosocial support.

 

The UN organisation has distributed recreation kits to meet the needs of 3,000 children, and more than 100 Palestinian children have been trained to help other children play games, draw, paint, and engage in other activities.

 

One of the senior students from Naher al-Bared, Hanan, said that it was important to overcome the painful circumstances in order to concentrate on passing their exams.

 

"It is hard to leave your home three weeks before these exams," she said. "But we will work hard to pass them."