An oPt Humanitarian Fund success story
Jaber (41) and Ilham (34) live with their five children in Khan Younis (Gaza), in a small, shabby home. Until mid-2020, Jaber worked in the canteen of a nearby school. But then, the school closed for months as part of measures imposed by the local authorities to contain the spread of COVID-19. He could no longer feed his family. Nor could he provide healthcare for his six-year-old son, who suffers from a chronic condition. Jaber and Ilham had no choice but to buy groceries and medicines on credit. They were left indebted and had no means to repay.
“We lived through very hard times,” Jaber said. “Day after day, all we ate was lentils and some bread from our neighbours.” It got even worse when they all had to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days after their neighbours tested positive for COVID-19.
But in January 2021, thanks to funding from the occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund (oPt HF), they were among 3,600 families in Gaza who received electronic vouchers to mitigate the impact of the pandemic for three months. The project was implemented by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Life and Hope Association and the Palestinian Organization for Development.
Amid COVID-19, CRS and vendors working with them put protective measures in place so families like Jaber’s can safely redeem their vouchers. CRS also used text messages, phone calls and flyers to make sure that families had accurate and timely information on how to stay safe during the outbreak.
Using their voucher, Jaber managed to buy food and hygiene items, and had their cooking-gas cylinders refilled.
“After receiving the voucher, I could provide items that I had not been able to afford. After long months of suffering, my family can finally enjoy a decent meal,” Jaber said.
“You can’t imagine how happy we were when we received the message from CRS. My children started jumping. They were very happy and are asking me every day when we will go to the supermarket.”
“In addition to food items, I bought hygiene materials, such as face masks and hand sanitizer, to protect my children when they go back to school,” Jaber said.
“After I lost my job, I didn’t know what to do. I was struggling to provide food for my family and medicine for my son. He won’t survive if he gets infected [with COVID-19]. My son will be safe now, I feel relieved.” Jaber, Father of five, Gaza
“After long months of suffering, my family can finally enjoy a decent meal.” Jaber, Father of five, Gaza