Children in Gaza like mine don’t think they’ll ever eat properly again

Palestinian children queue for food around damaged buildings, holding empty pots

Flour, bread, and vegetables were not available (Picture: Dawoud Abo Alkas/Anadolu via Getty Images)

As soon as I got the text message confirming that I would receive another sponsorship payment to help feed my four children, I cried tears of joy.

It was January of this year, but the payment would come through in March. As soon as it cleared, I hurriedly withdrew the money, then went straight to the market – where I bought three blankets, flour, vegetables, and canned food.

I also bought a coat for my 10-year-old daughter, Mariam, who was very sick and needed warmth.

When Mariam saw the food and coat, she was beyond ecstatic. She actually told me she thought we’d never eat things like bread again.

This sponsorship payment felt like a lifeline in the darkest time of our lives. As a single mother in Gaza right now, I was eternally grateful for it.

Ever since my husband passed away seven years ago, raising my four children – Mohammed, 16, Abdulhay, 15, Mahmoud, 12, and Mariam – has felt impossible at times.

Losing the love of my life and father of my children was incredibly difficult, but there was a light during the grief.

Around that time, I randomly met a fellow widow in a bank, who told me about Islamic Relief’s child sponsorship programme. It’s open to orphans, which – according to Islamic tradition – is defined as a child who has no father.

When I got home, I went on the charity’s website and decided to register my two youngest children.

That’s when I started receiving €115 (£98) for each child every three months. This is the sole income I have relied on since my husband’s death, as well as some irregular other charities too.

With this money, I could help provide basic daily needs for all of my children, like food, drink, clothing, toys and education. I also enrolled my children in an educational centre to receive private lessons to improve their academic performance. 

We have survived this way for years. Then 7 October happened and our world literally crumbled.

I’m terrified I’ll lose my children (Credits: REUTERS/Hatem Khaled)

We lived in a house in the Jabalia Refugee Camp, which we were able to stay in for 10 days. We had to leave after a missile terrifyingly landed in our living room, but thankfully didn’t actually explode.

We spent the entire night on the street, amidst the cold, fear and shelling. Once dawn broke – with only the clothes on our back – we went to a nearby relative’s place for two days, then started making our way down to Rafah in the south of Gaza.

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Initially, we started the journey on foot but it was too difficult so we managed to get a lift the rest of the way.

Once we got to Rafah, we couldn’t find a safe place to stay so we decided …read more

Source:: Metro


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