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Every little bit counts: Cultivating opportunity through sustainable farming innovation
"I was so excited when I received my first salary! All I think about was how to provide my children with what they need. I gathered my ten children around the table and asked them to list the things they wanted and hadn’t asked for. For the first time, I felt what it’s like to provide what my children want. It was fulfilling," recalls Rehab Zaed, a Palestine refugee mother of ten. Rehab and her family live in Gaza and received a temporary job opportunity through the UNRWA job Creation Programme (JCP).
The UNRWA Job Creation Programme (JCP) aims to ease the impact of widespread poverty and protracted conflict by providing short-term employment opportunities to Palestine refugees. Rehab works at a strawberry field in northern Gaza, where she helps with crop maintenance and harvest. Rehab's husband is unable to work because he suffers from chronic illness and one of their daughters is battling cancer. "My little child is a cancer patient. She always asks for things I can't afford. This month I was so happy that I could bring her everything she wanted," Rehab adds.
The devastating impact of the blockade has hit the Strip’s most vulnerable communities the hardest. Recurrent hostilities and political instability, combined with economic stagnation have left an indelible impact of the women and children of Gaza. It is in this context that JCP injects cash into the local economy and supports the private sector through provision of additional human resources. This innovative approach prioritizes employment opportunities for youth, women, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
Thanks to generous funding from the United Kingdom, UNRWA provides two thousand Palestine refugees with temporary job opportunities in the field of agriculture, giving them hope and new perspectives in life. This project will continue to reach some six thousand Palestine refugees in the sieged Gaza Strip over the next three years.
"This is the first work opportunity I’ve been assigned by UNRWA. Every day I learn something new about agriculture. I teach my friends and neighbours the agricultural skills I learn here," Rehab notes.
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