Wednesday, 30. May 2007
Story from Jabalia- Sabha Sa’d
“I don’t want my children to become thieves because of poverty” That’s what Sabha has been fighting for.
Sabha Saa’d, a mother of 16 children. Her daughters and sons live under the most pressuring socio-economic circumstances with a father that could no longer work in Israel since the beginning of the uprising of 2000. Even before that date, the family has suffered from all kinds of deprivation because of inherited poverty status. She lost her family and their very modest property. Sabha is the one who provides the family for the necessary food items through her participation in the WFP/MSA FFT program.
As the burden of her children school requirements and basic food needs mounted up, she decided to create a living out of the very simple means. She started farming her little piece of land by the house with some herbs. The program, FFT, helped her satisfy the basic needs of her family and also develop her skills in producing and selling what she grows in her backyard. Now, she gains an income of about 400 NIS every month, in addition to the food items provided through WFP. “My husband thought that I would leave him, because he can’t take care of us”, but “I work more than 20 hours a day to provide a secure living for my dear family”. She asks me: “do you know what it means to be able to feed 16 children?”

I leave her with a proud smile. She didn’t stop thanking the program while talking to her.

“There is no doubt that this woman is in serious need of continuous help”, the program is there for her as it is there for all of us”. A group of women stated as we were leaving.

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Breaking the Darkness
Firyal Zurub is one of the women organizing the handcraft exhibition at the International Women’s day. Firyal is a rural woman, forty eight years old, lives in western Rafah, and she was one of the women who refused to be a bound of the traditions and fought against the bad economical situation.

Her story begins when she was fourteen years old. She got married while she did not complete her preparatory school education. Her husband was solvent as he was working in Israel with a monthly income exceeds 5000 NIS. When the Intifada took place everybody was deprived from working inside the green line, as a result the economical situation of Firyal’s family, which consists of 5 boys and 4 girls, got worse. Firyal decided to help her family after they ran out of their savings and became poor. She tried to look for a job after her husband failed to cover their family’s basic needs, but she failed due to lack of needed educational qualification and the refusal of her husband to let her out without an advantage.

Firyal heard about the Projects of MOA - Food For Work and Food for Training – funded by World Food Programme (WFP), as the conditions of this project fits on Firyal she had the chance to get benefit from it and she got several trainings such as animal husbandry, home gardening, small projects, handcrafts, etc… Firyal was committed to attend the trainings as her husband encouraged her because of the food basket they are receiving. During the training, the trainers urged and encouraged women to enroll with the concerned authorities to continue their education. That was another beginning for Firyal as she resumed her study and finished her preparatory and secondary education in one year. Her ambition did not stop here as her colleagues and trainers encouraged here to join the university and to study social studies. Firyal said that she received help from WFP through food for training project and from the university through student’s loan to cover her study expenses.

Now Firyal became one of the trainers of handcrafts assisting the Ministry of Agriculture and helping in covering minor social issues. Firyal pointed out that she’s always trying to help women who lost their ways and chances of education. She started with her children as she keeps urging them to continue their education and trying hardly to provide their needs. Firyal is proud of her achievements and she wishes all women would get their chances to learn, work and improve themselves and she thanks WFP for giving her this chance and taking her hand to navigate a better life.

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Wednesday, 23. May 2007
Gaza: ripped apart by violence and in need of help (Report found on
Gaza, 17 May 2007
A combination of inter-factional violence and Israeli airstrikes have killed scores of people in Gaza over the past ten days. WFP spokesperson Kirstie Campbell looks at the impact of the conflict on the Palestinians who try to continue a normal life amid the chaos and uncertainty.
Only three years ago, I could go to the market and run along the beach in the early morning before work without a second thought.

In this tense and uncertain environment, normal life seems lost and replaced by a basic existence of bitter survival

At the weekends, we would spend afternoons with friends watching life buzzing around us -- kids playing and laughing and men selling sweet potatoes or corn on the beach from donkey carts and families out to lunch in the local restaurants with their children dressed up in their best new outfits.
But my most recent visit to Gaza was heart-rending. While a few children play in the streets, women hide at home, scared to go out, and men sit around with little to do.

Squeezed dry
Garbage lines the streets as a result of collectors being on strike. It seems as if all the joy there ever was has been squeezed out of this dry strip of land only to be replaced by despair.

Poverty in Gaza is so deep it feels insurmountable. Even the once relatively well-off classes are now shamefully lining up for aid from the UN, one of the few providers still able to function in the growing security vacuum.
This transformation has brought a growing sense of despair because Palestinians are proud hard-working people.

They long to work and provide for their families, to feed and clothe them, to send them to school and occasionally to share small family luxuries like a meal out.
Instead, almost eighty percent of the population is now living hand-to-mouth. Many women have sold their dowries and almost every family suffers from debt and has absent or sick relatives linked to the conflict.
Few elements of life as people knew it remain. Recreational activities for children are largely a thing of the past; moreover, children are often expected to help their parents to earn money.

"Bitter survival"
In this tense and uncertain environment, normal life seems lost and replaced by a basic existence of bitter survival.
Criminality is on the rise and society is regressing to fragmented tribalism. It seems that anyone with a gun can now grab power and war is becoming the staple alternative to their former work of farming or manual jobs.
Thanks to generous donor support, the United Nations is able to keep the poorest people alive with food assistance and to keep some momentum and productivity through retraining. But aid cannot replace the much needed dignity and hope of real paid work.

On the edge
Gaza is teetering on the edge of the unknown. A return to normality would be possible but seems increasingly unlikely. Infighting among factions is intensifying.
Unless there is an opening of markets and borders to bring jobs and an improvement in the economy the security situation will continue to deteriorate.
As the shadow of war advances and crushes hope, the poor and unemployed will have little choice other than to join the ranks of the conflict.


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Tuesday, 22. May 2007
Soon you will find here some reports and pictures from people in Palestine about their daily lifes...
We want the people to open their eyes and see what´s happening day by day in Gaza and Westbank...

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