One year on: Palestine refugees in Gaza welcome the holy month of Ramadan

02 April 2022
Ibrahim, standing outside of his shop in Maghazi camp, Gaza. © 2022 UNRWA Photo by Mohammed Hinnawi

During the month of Ramadan, one shop in Gaza transforms from a small grocery shop into a haven of decorations. The little shop belongs to Ibrahim Abu Jayaab, a 70-year-old Palestine refugee from Maghazi camp in Gaza.

Ibrahim, known locally as Abu Imad, makes decorative lanterns in various sizes and shapes, to fit the festive needs of the community who welcome the month of Ramadan. His vibrantly coloured lanterns line the streets and adorn houses and shops throughout the camp and spread festive joy and cheer inside the camp. “Observed by Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a month of giving, sacrifice and empathy to those who are less fortunate and encourages acts of kindness and generosity. Ramadan is the most awaited month of the year for me and for all Muslims; during Ramadan I sell lanterns and am able to increase my family’s income. It helps us meet our needs and afford Ramadan expenses. I hope that this Ramadan will be better than the previous one,” Abu Imad explained.

“I receive food assistance from UNRWA at the end of this week; I’m  impatiently awaiting it because we depend on it. My daughters make cheese and hummus and we use the rest of the foodstuff to cook and prepare food. This will be very helpful during the month of Ramadan,” said Abu Imad.

The escalation of hostilities in May 2021, combined with years of de-development, has further increased the hardship facing its inhabitants – almost two-thirds of whom are refugees. Under the 15 years of land, air and sea blockade, its economy – projected to contract by 0.3 per cent in 2021 as a result of the May 2021 hostilities – requires considerable support if the negative effects of the pandemic and recent hostilities are to be mitigated. With the unemployment rate reaching 50.2 per cent in 2021, more than one million Palestine refugees rely on UNRWA for food assistance.

This Ramadan, consider supporting Palestine refugees through the Agency’s Ramadan campaign. Your donation is zakat eligible and will put food on the table for the more than one million Palestine refugees who are welcoming the month of Ramadan after having survived the trauma and violence of last year. Donate here