Shadi Abd al Jaber Qanan is a 27-year-old fisher from the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He lives with his extended family of seven members in an eighty-square-metre house.
Years ago, Shadi dropped out of primary school to assist his father in fishing, the family’s main source of income. Recently, however, the motor of the family’s boat stopped working. As they had no money to fix it, Shadi had to intermittently work with other fishers, earning about US$7 per day. As a result, Shadi‘s family income dropped steeply.
“The bad economic situation of fishermen is caused by many reasons,” Shadi explained, “including the complete closure of the port [by the local authorities] during the COVID-19 crisis, in addition to the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, which has led to the reduction of the fishing area and negatively affected the quantity and quality of fish caught.”
In October 2020 through funding from the occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund (oPt HF), and in partnership with Al Foukhary Association for Rural Development, Mercy Corps provided first payment of restricted cash assistance to vulnerable and crises-affected fishers, aiming to restore their livelihoods and enhance their living conditions. Shadi applied and was selected to get money to fix the broken engine.
"I was waiting for any help to fix my engine. Such help would save me, not only from the humiliation involved in working for others, but also from not making enough money to feed my family,” Shadi said.
"I am thankful to Mercy Corps for the cash assistance; finally, I was able to completely repair the motor and bring sufficient food to my family’s table," he concluded with pleasure.
Shadi dreams of continuing to improve his income so that he can rent his own house and feel independent from his extended family.