The joy of children starting a new school year is a welcome sight in Gaza, but for many the trauma and loss brought by the recent conflict will take far longer to overcome. GAZA, State of Palestine, 16 September 2014 – Early on Sunday, Gaza woke at last to a familiar sight: streets crowded with children dressed in school uniforms. Half a million students have returned to school this week, with memories still fresh of 50 days of violence that engulfed the coastal enclave this summer and delayed the start of classes by three weeks. The conflict – the third in just over five years – has left more than 500 children dead, more than 3,300 injured and nearly 400,000 more distressed by traumatic experiences. “I have seen so much violence, I don’t know how to cope with it. My home was destroyed, my school was destroyed, and I had to move to a new one, which is not easy,” says 17-year-old Pascale Helles, who lives in Shejaiya, a neighbourhood that was levelled by air strikes. “I already feel that I will not be able to pass my exams this year. All I wish for is having peace of mind. I wish everything could be like it was before, that my house were still standing.” As Pascale speaks, one of her classmates starts sobbing. “She lost her fiancé in the war,” Pascale whispers.