In Gaza, Women, who account for 49% of the population, bear a heavy share of the burden of economic strangulation imposed by the 11 year blockade. During that time, the number of women seeking employment has increased 200%. Many of these women are highly educated and now find themselves as the breadwinners of their family after their spouses are either incapacitated from injury or deceased.
Such is the case of Nisreen, a widow caring for her 7 children. She lost her husband to cancer 5 years ago and has struggled to survive ever since. In Gaza, cancer is a death sentence, and not for lack of expertise, but rather for lack of proper treatment due to the siege.
Living in a two room house with no doors, windows, electricity, nor safe water and sanitation, life for Nisreen and her children is unbearable. Her older children want to help, but they too find they increasingly have no options for employment. This kind of despair has led many to the borders over the past few weeks to demonstrate their frustration and desperation.
Sadly, many of the youth have lost all hope, turning to drugs and other negative outlets to help them cope. Children are forced to drop out of school and work in risky occupations to help put food on the table. Cuts to UNRWA, which provides critical services to over 75% of Gaza’s population coupled with non-payment of salaries are leading to a complete collapse across all sectors.
“The lives of these children and their families have value and cannot be taken with impunity,” said Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, KinderUSA Chair, “We have to help replace despair with hope, reminding the global community that Gaza’s children belong to all of us.”
With that in mind, we at KinderUSA along with our implementing partner, Beit Lahia, have implemented a project ensuring food security for 38 female-headed households through the donation 200 chicks along with the essential tools and training required. Nisreen and 37 other women will raise chicks for roasting and laying hens to be included in our Ramadan food package distribution. KinderUSA purchases from the women and will replenish their stock at the close of the month allowing them to sell on the open market to care for their families. With enough support, we can expand this project so that it benefits more families in need, offering them a source of income and dignity throughout the year.