Humanity Voice - Ploughing through poverty with a small stall



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  Ploughing through poverty with a small stall
Gaza, by Muhammad Abu Qamar, for - 2008-07-27

After a long struggle with life that lasted over ten years, Mahmoud is getting ready for his wedding on the eighth of next month.

Amidst poverty and unemployment, Mahmoud, 27, found no other solution but a small candy stall in the alleys of Jabalia Refugee Camp north of Gaza.

His father died when he was ten years old. Mahmoud, who is the eldest son, faced the burden of supporting his family at an early age. He never tasted but the bitterness of life. So, he bought some candies and started leaving home in the early hours only to come back after sunset, every day. Naturally, Mahmoud had to quit school to work so that he can feed his brothers and pay for their school expenses.

Fifteen Shekels (About US$ 5) per day was all he could make from his candy stall, but Mahmoud receives aid from UNRWA and other charities that help provide for his brothers. With this meager earning he was able to care for his brothers and get engaged last year. Now he is waiting for his wedding day next month.

Mahmoudís stall shows the hardships of his life, where his dilapidated modest home reflects the deterioration of life for its inhabitants.

Next to Mahmoud sat a group of young kids each with his allowance for candies and other goodies. He expresses his frustration at the steep prices of everything.

Siege, poverty, and high rate of unemployment forced many young people to look for alternatives to the jobs they once had. Many of them found nothing but a small stall because it does not require a large capital and may provide for lifeís basic necessities.
Muhamad is like hundreds of Gazan families that spend countless nights without food on the table.

Jabalia Refugee Camp is one of the largest Palestinian camps occupying some 11,500 square dunnams and is one of the most densely populated camps. Its structures are characterized by simplicity and dilapidation as most of it is shantytown neighborhoods.

Mahmoud, who had to scale down on his wedding ceremony, could not even afford the basic necessities, so he had to borrow money. He said he hopes to be able to pay it back soon.

Long, bitter years had passed, but Mahmoud never lost hope of a breakthrough that will change things in Gaza, meanwhile, Mahmoud has to contend with hope that is filling his small heart.

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