A deformed leg, a failing thyroid gland and kidney disease were not enough to hold Alla Jarghoun down. Her illness may have forced her to withdraw from school, but she wasn’t willing to give up. A four-month course in food manufacturing, offered by the Gender Initiative of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), provided the opportunity she needed.
“The training offered by UNRWA not only helped me develop my skills,” says the 21-year-old Palestine refugee from Gaza, “but also promoted my social involvement and psychological well-being.” She managed to set up a small stand, selling sweets and biscuits from her home to earn a small living. She is now the sole breadwinner for the eight members of her family, including her father, who cannot work due to obesity, three sisters, one of them disabled, and two brothers, between 8 and 21.
Hard times haven’t ended for Alla. She says she urgently needs to earn money “to secure medicine for me and for my disabled sister.” But the sweets stand, which she set up with savings from social occasions, is an important first step. She faces the future with a smile and sweetness: “My goal is to set up a pastry project to improve my family’s conditions and my social engagement.”