7 September 2010
It was the 22nd day of the holy Ramadan for the besieged people in Gaza, crushed not only by the unusually hot temperatures, but also their deteriorating living conditions since Israel imposed its blockade.
A long line of women and children stood in front of the big blue gate of the UNRWA Women’s Centre in Nusierat camp just before sundown, waiting to enter to receive a free hot meal for the iftar [evening meal to break the Ramadan fast]. Signs of tiredness and the harshness of life were obvious on their faces.
Arab countries have funded hot meals during Ramadan to help alleviate the suffering of Palestinian families.
At the centre a woman was sitting waiting for her turn to receive her meal. Saadya Ataweel, a mother of five, said that she is very grateful for being one of those who received an invitation from the centre to attend these hot meals.
“My husband is sick and can’t work. I came here with my blind daughter-in-law and her five children to receive a free hot meal. The children are very happy to eat a complete meal that consists from rice and chicken, and yogurt,” she said. “With our financial situation and harshness of life in Gaza it is very difficult for me to afford these children a meal like this one.
“I am very grateful and thankful for the Libyan president and the Gaddafi Foundation for supporting us in this holy month, and providing such good meals.”
Itaf Mubark, a widow and mother of nine children, said: “I heard about the free meals through an announcement at the mosque. Since then I came with my children to receive this hot meal. My children are not used to eating chicken or meat, as I can’t afford to buy it. Now they are happy because of this fancy meal. It is like a gift from heaven.
“I am very thankful for UNRWA and Al Gaddafi Foundation’s efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the poorest families in Gaza. In the current situation, people needed help and this step of course helps some of the poorest families during Ramadan.”
The meals were funded by the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, which also signed a $50 million agreement with UNRWA in August. This project worth over half a million dollars helped provide hot Ramadan meals to 110,000 of the poorest people in Gaza.
Story by: Najwa Sheikh
Photos by: Shareef Sarhan