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CHF West Bank & Gaza: Hungry for Knowledge

Published 01/06/2011 by Global Communities

By Yasmeen El Khoudary

From looking at him, one might assume that Rezeq Shtaiwai is just a typical man in his late fifties, but it’s not so. This man has an inspiring story to tell.

Rezeq, like most Palestinians in Gaza, used to work in Israel but has been unemployed since the blockade. With eight children at home, one of whom is handicapped, he uses the 1000 NIS (approximately $278) that is granted from one of the welfare organizations each month for his daughter’s disabilities, to support his family. He also receives a monthly CHF food voucher. Naturally, these do not sufficiently meet his family’s needs.

CHF asked Rezeq if his two sons hold jobs to help him provide for the family, but he said that his sons are students, and he would not want them to give up their education.

Rezeq was chosen as a beneficiary for CHF’s Gaza Urban Agriculture Revitalization and Development program (GUARD). He participated in the intensive agricultural training and received a full house garden kit.

The success of Rezeq’s garden speaks for itself, as he has covered his small backyard with green seedlings of all sorts. Rezeq said that he has reduced his family’s expenditure on fruits and vegetables by half, and that he even gives some of his produce to his unemployed brothers and his family.

When we asked Rezeq what he uses the saved money for, we expected him to reply that the money was being saved or used to fix the parts in his house that were damaged. However, Rezeq said, “I spend money on my daughters’ education. I have four daughters in school and two daughters in university. I save every shekel to pay for their educational needs. People say that ‘women are half of society,’ but I believe that women are the whole society, and that is why my daughters’ education is my priority.”