Just a few years ago, Mr Al Fayoumi and his family lived as a working-class family in Gaza. The 35-year-old refugee used to work as a tailor in one of the many textiles factories in Gaza. However, as the blockade tightened and exports ceased, he lost his job. Without work, he was unable to meet even the most basic needs of his family. Incapable of putting food on the table and buying clothes for his children, he applied to UNRWA for assistance.
Mr Al Fayoumi’s story is not unique. In every community and every economic sector across the Gaza Strip, workers have lost their jobs and private businesses have collapsed under the blockade. The blockade limits imports and bans exports with very few exceptions. Restrictions remain on the opportunity to travel. Families who were self-supporting are now not. Highly skilled and well-educated workers cannot find even menial jobs. At least six out of every ten students graduating from Gaza’s universities will have no prospect of a job.
In short, Gaza’s economy has been decimated, causing widespread poverty and leaving more than half the population food insecure and vulnerable to food insecurity. For previously self-sufficient Gazans, life is a daily struggle to secure their basic needs, and the indignity of being unable to find work is insufferable. UNRWA’s food assistance, said Mr Al Fayoumi: “helps me to face the difficulties of my life”.
Mr Al Fayoumi and his family are living in abject poverty and are among the poorest and most vulnerable refugees in Gaza. Every three months, they receive a basic package of food assistance from UNRWA, which consists of flour, rice, cooking oil, powdered milk, canned meat and sugar. These staples allow them to make bread, rice, and some basic meals. Yet, Mr Al Fayoumi has difficulty supplementing these rations – meaning that his children rarely eat fruit, vegetables and protein-rich foods – and is unable to cover the cost of basic needs, including soap, new clothes and the cost of transport to and from school. In order to help Mr Al Fayoumi UNRWA provides the family with $780 per year.
UNRWA’s emergency food and cash assistance (PDF) relies almost entirely upon donations from individuals, institutional donors and governments. Every dollar you donate to UNRWA helps restore dignity to the lives of refugees who are unable to support themselves due to the loss of livelihoods under the blockade.
A monthly gift of $10 will provide food to one abject poor person for a year.
A monthly gift of $50 will feed a family for a year.