Najwa Sheikh Ahmed is a Palestine refugee, who lives in Nuseirat camp with her husband and three children. These are her personal stories.
To the soul of my father
At the age of 80 my father passed away, after a long journey of suffering, and working hard to ensure for us, his children, a decent life, a life that is better than his own.
Read To the soul of my father
It is strange how sometimes people can open up to each other, without even knowing each other, they are able to share all their worries and talk about issues that burden them. These kinds of discussions can take place anywhere: at the bus stop, in a taxi, at the market, or in the waiting hall of a clinic or a hospital. Read Dear Diary
Dream a little dream
It is so important that humans can have dreams. It is a blessing, particularly for the people of Gaza, where the blockade, the deteriorating economic situation, and the effects of the recent war have left residents with no chance to fulfill any of their dreams, or even their humblest plans for the future. Read Dream a little dream
Nakba ever after
Yesterday was the 61st anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. Many writers have written about the Nakba, and about losing the homeland, losing national dignity, and security. But none of them have written about the frequent disappointments that the Palestinian refugees have had and held onto since then. Read Nakba ever after
When we stop dreaming
The life of the Palestinian refugees over the last 60 years has been unique. Unique and rich. Rich with suffering endured and rich with the capability to cope. Rich with a willingness to survive and continue, and to challenge all the circumstances. Read When we stop dreaming
Back to work
The road was dreary, it was the second day after the ceasefire was announced, and people started to leave their houses to see what had happened to the other places. I was in a taxi going to my work in Gaza, and the whole way there I was trying to prepare myself for what I was going to see. Read Back to work
Children no more
Finally the war has ended and the children of Gaza can go back to school. What was supposed to be their mid-year vacation became their mid-year nightmare, the worst thing that could have happened: a nightmare that packed them with unforgettable images of dead faces, destroyed houses and horrible experiences. Read Children no more
Is the war really over?
They say that the war on Gaza has finished. How amazing that a war can start in a single meeting and end in another, neglecting all the pain, sorrow, fears and worries a war can leave in the souls and minds of those who suffer its woes. Read Is the war really over?
From a meaningless life to a meaningless death
The sky is still blue as I remember. I haven’t seen it since three days. I almost forgot how beautiful it looks on a sunny day in winter. I wish I could walk on the beach and enjoy some peace. Read From a meaningless life to a meaningless death
Migrations within the camp
Words stand helpless in front of the continuous sufferings of the Gazan people, a continuous journey of migration, but this time the migrations are between and within the camps of Gaza. Read Migrations within the camp
Gaza under fire
The air is very heavy in Gaza, full of all the anger, grief and sadness that encompasses human understanding. The sound of the Israeli airplanes and the vibrations of its missiles make the air even heavier. On a single day, over 280 people are killed, many more injured and more yet are still missing. This is Gaza on the first day of the Israeli air assault. Read Gaza under fire
Home sweet home
Home for all of us is the place where we can find peace, comfort, and love. It is where we find passion, and warmness, no matter where we are or who we are. It is the place where we want to hide and seek peace. Read Home sweet home
Scene at a checkpoint
It has been a long time since I wrote my last piece. Having another child is not an easy job. Parenthood is a full time job, it illuminates your life but keeps you busy at all times.
Read Scene at a checkpoint
Seeing the Dome of the Rock
Even though the Gaza-Jerusalem trip only takes about two hours, for me and for many other Palestinians in Gaza , it lasts a lifetime – a window suddenly opened to let in fresh air. A sensation I may never again have the chance to experience. Read Seeing the Dome of the Rock
Out of Gaza!
I did not realise that a piece of paper is all it takes for me to get out of Gaza and enjoy a completely different world, free of concerns, where you can live normally and make the best of it all. Last week for the first time in ten years I had the chance to get out of Gaza – only for one week. But for me it was a lifetime. Read Out of Gaza!
On 20 June the world will turn their eyes to the plight of refugees, commemorating World Refugee Day. It is a special day for Palestinians who are forever refugees, sentenced to remain dispersed around the world, barred from returning to their homeland. Read Forever refugees
Water and the summer in Gaza
When you find yourself unable to have or to use water the whole day through, when you can’t enjoy a clean glass of water and force yourself to drink it despite its smell and colour, when your son comes back home from school thirsty because there is no access to clean water in his school, when you are frightened to go to the beach because it is so polluted from dumped sewage, then you know that you are in Gaza… Read Water and the summer in Gaza
Nakba for the third generation
As a third generation Palestinian, the Nakba for me is different in terms of the pain and suffering it holds. For me the Nakba is more than fleeing your homeland and losing your identity; it is, in point of fact, not having one single memory of the homeland from where your grandparents and your parents came from. It is not having anything to tell your children about the taste of your land’s fruit, the smell of its sand, the times spent with the people there. Read Nakba for the third generation
My life under siege
The recent hot, dry winds made me think that summer was coming fast this year. I started thinking of things like summer clothes for the kids, the joys of showering in cool water and sitting on the beach with the children, playing with the sand. But this lovely image of Gaza is not the whole picture. Read My life under siege
Thinking and knowing
Have you ever lived knowing this moment might be your last? Have you ever lived wondering if you will see another sunrise or the faces of your children again? Read Thinking and knowing
Between Gaza and Sderot
It was such a quiet evening; my kids were sleeping after a long day at school and I had just gone into the kitchen to prepare a cup of coffee. Suddenly, I heard a huge explosion and the sound of broken glass. I was terrified. When a missile from an F-16 hits a target near you, everything shakes with the impact and the noise - not only the buildings and the walls, but you yourself are shaken to the core. Read Between Gaza and Sderot
The lost generation
I’m writing from Gaza, but it’s not the Gaza I knew and loved. People today have lost the sparkle in their eyes because they’ve lost their faith in life. For me, as a mother, it is very painful to see this young generation - the driving force in building a strong society for the future - living so aimlessly. I’ve never felt as scared as I feel today when I imagine the future that awaits my children and others their age. Read The lost generation
I’m pregnant. That’s the happiest news a woman can get…in normal circumstances. In Gaza, the news that you’re pregnant comes with all the fears, worries and anxieties you can imagine. Read Giving birth
All around the world there are people, and organizations, who believe in human rights. Some fight to their last breath to protect these rights. I ask myself if we in Gaza are included in the group of "human beings", or if we are excluded from the ranks of those who should enjoy such rights? Read No expectations
An apple a day keeps the doctor away
I have to admit I’m addicted to apples. The thing is, since Hamas took over Gaza last June, we’ve been under siege. For months on end, traders were unable to bring fruit into the Strip. Now, the cost of fruit is so high that most families simply can’t afford to buy it and children are forgetting what an apple or a banana tastes like. Read An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Without electricity or water
Two complete days without electricity or water. My life is paralysed. My kids are bored. I’ve run out of ideas for how to make them have fun. When there’s no electricity and only candlelight, you have to be creative to keep children busy; you have to be patient, telling them stories, encouraging them to play with the shadows cast by the candles. Read Without electricity or water