1. Home
  2. Middle East and North Africa
  3. Israel

Sima Ohiyon, Israel, "I pray a Qassam won't fall on the way to school"

Osher outside her school.
(Shabtai Gold/IRIN)

Sima Ohaiyon, a resident of Sderot and mother of three, walked her four-year-old daughter Osher, which means "happiness" in Hebrew, to her new school on 4 September, a day after a rocket fired from Gaza landed outside a day care centre for toddlers.

"It's not an easy time in Sderot. There are too many rockets falling.

"This morning I was scared. I debated about taking them to school. I waited and waited, because usually the rockets come early. Eventually, when all was quiet, I decided to take Osher to school.

"I can't break her routine. She is just starting school. This is her first year. These first few days are important for her.

"My older child's school is on strike today. Last year, he stopped his after-school activities after a Qassam [rocket] landed in the football field. He was too scared to go back.

"I have to walk 15 minutes to get to Osher's school, and the whole way I pray that no Qassam falls on the way to school.

"My husband said he wants to leave this town, go somewhere else, some place safer. But our family is here and our work is here. And we can't afford to move.

"Every time the "red colour" [alert siren] goes off, my little baby, who's one year and nine months old, starts to scream. We all rush for cover in the protective areas.

“Now, even if it's just a truck backing up outside she screams. I'm worried about this."


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

Help us be the transformation we’d like to see in the news industry

The current journalistic model is broken: Audiences are demanding that the hierarchical, elite-led system of news-gathering and presentation be dismantled in favour of a more inclusive and holistic model based on more equitable access to information and more nuanced and diverse narratives.

The business model is also broken, with many media going bankrupt during the pandemic – despite their information being more valuable than ever – because of a dependence on advertisers. 

Finally, exploitative and extractive practices have long been commonplace in media and other businesses.

We think there is a better way. We want to build something different.

Our new five-year strategy outlines how we will do so. It is an ambitious vision to become a transformative newsroom – and one that we need your support to achieve.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian by making a regular contribution to our work - and help us deliver on our new strategy.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.