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Saluting Our Unsung Heroes: UNRWA Sanitation Team in Rafah Gaza
Blog by: Rajaa Jadili
As the world celebrates International Workers' Day, I had the privilege of visiting the UNRWA Sanitation Office in Rafah, Gaza. The centre’s 22 employees serve over 133,000 Palestine Refugees in the area. From drivers, plant attendants, storekeepers, maintenance workers, to foremen, and chief foremen, each performs their duties with utmost professionalism and commitment.
During my visit, I witnessed the critical role played by the sanitation team in serving refugees in camps across the Gaza Strip, especially in Rafah. Rafah is the only remaining camp where house-to-house waste collection is offered. This is due to the very narrow alleys throughout the camp.
Team members work tirelessly during various crises, including conflicts, escalations, and severe weather conditions, to provide unparalleled support to the Palestine Refugee community, providing vital sanitation services, including clean water and safe waste disposal.
What stood out to me was the exceptional determination and ambition of UNRWA team members, exemplified by Chief Foreman, Zayd al-Habeel. He began his career with UNRWA in 1996 as a sanitation labourer and went on to earn a Master's and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Climate. This academic achievement helped him progress in his career. He eventually secured a position that provides a decent life for him and his four sons. Despite the challenges he faced during his career, Zayd’s hard work and dedication will culminate with his retirement this August.
On this International Workers' Day, UNRWA extends its support to its sanitation teams, recognizing their tireless efforts in creating a healthy and supportive environment for Palestine Refugees. The work of the team members is an inspiration to us all, and we must continue to support them in their endeavours to provide essential services to our community.
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