A Ray of Hope Mitigates Desperation
Amna has found reason for hope amidst the suffering she and the other residents of the Gaza Strip have endured due to the latest military escalation in May 2021. She, her husband and their 10 children were selected by the local committee to participate in the rabbit breeding program after their two-bedroom, tin-roofed home was severely damaged in the bombing.
After 14 years of a total blockade on the Gaza Strip, it has been called “the largest open-air prison in the world.” No one in Gaza’s dense population escapes the ravages of the conflict. Five bombardments (in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2019 and 2021) caused increasing damage to vital infrastructure and the vulnerable economic, social, and political system. The COVID-19 pandemic only adds to the misery. Approximately 80% of Palestinian households receive some form of social assistance. Most worrisome is the impact on children. These young victims of danger and uncertainty deal with stress, anxiety and depression, and many are in need of psycho-social support and therapy.
When Amna received the phone call inviting her to join the program, she said, “I could not believe it! I always hear about people getting involved in some sort of project or other, but no one ever looked at our neighborhood. It was a new hope for me and my family. It’s a miracle!”
Amna continued, “This is the first time that I have something, not only a food parcel or a blanket coming from an organization. This time it is different. I can work and earn money. I will make this project successful for me and my family.”
Because her husband was wounded in 2012 and cannot walk, it is difficult for him to find employment, so an opportunity for Amna to work from home to support their large family is a godsend. She has so far been able to take care of the rabbits and is now breeding them. Having a source of protein for the family is important to all rabbit breeders, and Amna expects to be able to start selling some of her rabbits as well and earning an income very soon.
“I want to buy food and new clothes for the kids, and this time it will be from money I earned with dignity and hard work.”
Palestine Gaza Program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee and Local Partner Al-Najd Developmental Forum