Northern Ireland

Gaza children’s poetry showcased in Belfast exhibition

The project will see Belfast pupils recording poems written by children in Gaza

A new exhibition featuring poetry from children in Gaza will be displayed in Belfast in May. PICTURE: HANDS UP PROJECT
A new exhibition featuring poetry from children in Gaza will be displayed in Belfast in May. PICTURE: HANDS UP PROJECT

AN exhibition of poetry from children in Gaza is coming to Belfast in May, showing the devastating fall-out of the Israel-Hamas war from young eyes.

The Hands Up charity has organised the event, having previously brought students and teachers from Gaza to St Louise’s Comprehensive College in west Belfast for a theatre programme in 2022.

Three of the pupils who visited Belfast - Yara, Rahaf and Malak – have kept in touch with the staff at St Louise’s as the war continues.

Over 30,000 have been killed in Gaza as part of the Israeli retaliation to the October 7 Hamas attacks, which killed around 1,200 in southern Israel and saw around 250 hostages taken.

The UN also state around a quarter of Gaza’s 2.3 million population face starvation, with 80% having fled their homes.



This month, Yara (16) told the staff at St Louise’s of her struggles to stay safe and find enough food.

“I don’t know how many times we fell asleep dreaming of a loaf of bread to satisfy our hunger,” she wrote.

“I do not know how many times we fled under the sounds of frightening bombing to search for a safe place.

“I do not remember how many screams and cries I heard over the loss of loved ones. I don’t remember ever seeing anyone smile in six months “All I can remember is that the most beautiful days of my life were before October 7. I wish time would stop for me on the night of the sixth of that month.”

Students Yara, Malak and Rahaf from Gaza visited Belfast last year. Yara and Rahaf had been missing for a month while Malak's home has been destroyed. All three have since been able to make contact but are deeply afraid for their safety.
Palestinian students Yara, Malak and Rahaf from Gaza visited Belfast in 2022.

Pupils from St Louise’s College and Holy Evangelists’ Primary School are now recording many of the poems from Gaza children for the upcoming ‘Moon tell me the truth’ exhibition at the recently renovated St Comgall’s school, Divis Street.

In some cases, the authors have died including nine-year-old Fatema Saidam who was said to have been killed along with her family during an Israeli airstrike in October.

Among the authors featured in poetry collection was nine-year-old Fatema Saidam, who is believed to have died in an airstrike in Gaza last year.PICTURE: HANDS UP PROJECT
Among the authors featured in poetry collection was nine-year-old Fatema Saidam, who is believed to have died in an airstrike in Gaza last year. PICTURE: HANDS UP PROJECT

Sean Mullin from Holy Evangelists’ said the project had helped pupils make sense of the impact for innocent civilians in both Gaza and Israel.

“I thought it was a nice tribute to Fatema, for her work to move and inspire other children far away. I didn’t even tell the children she’d been killed, but I sensed that they knew that anyway.”

The exhibition will be open to the public between May 6- 13 in St. Comgall’s, Divis Street.