Following hardships because of the closure and thanks to a new project, Naima Abu Shawareb supports her family

Abu Shawareb familyGisha field coordinator in Gaza, Mohammed Azaiza, visited a sewing workshop initiated by Oxfam Great Britain to assist vulnerable families in the Gaza Strip. Among other things, the project, funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), provides men and women with temporary work, benefiting them and their families. The clothes produced at the workshop, including school uniforms, are then distributed to families in need.

The following is a testimony gathered by Mohammed from one of the workshop participants, Naima Abu Shawareb, aged 40. She lives in Ash-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City with her husband and four young children.

“Before 2007, I worked in my brother's sewing factory. I'm no professional, but I consider myself to be quite good with a sewing machine. My husband, a tailor by trade, also worked in a sewing factory located in the Erez Industrial Zone in the north of Gaza. There he made about 100 shekels per day”.

“With the onset of the closure, he stopped receiving permits to enter the industrial zone and we soon understood that the intention was to close the whole area. That's eventually what happened”.

“My husband looked for work. He made about 30-40 shekels per day as a porter and for a time he also collected gravel and other construction materials for sale to factories that recycle the materials. As the money he earned wasn't enough to support the family, we were obliged to ask for help from family – sometimes my brothers, sometimes his”. 

“I believe it was the stress of these hard times that made my husband fall ill in 2009. Since then it's been impossible for him to find work. I've become the sole support for our family. I worked for a time cleaning houses and also sought out aid from international organizations, vouchers for food and other things”.

“Now I am taking part in this sewing workshop and have managed to earn and save some money for my children. When the workshop ends, in a few months, I'm not sure what we will do. Despite the fact that my husband was well-liked by his Israeli boss and was a good worker, there is no work anymore in Israel and no work in Gaza. My hope is for my children to have a better future”. 

See more pictures of Naima and her family »