Living in a conflict zone amid the outbreak of Covid-19 can present a whole range of challenges.
In Gaza, where health services are stretched and unemployment is high, many families struggle financially to make ends meet and get the care they need.
Add the additional pressures of a health pandemic and the medical and financial pressures they bring, Ramadan is now a period of worry for many people.
For people like Anaheed, a 55-year-old widow from Gaza City, the struggles are all too familiar.
Life as a widow: Trying to make ends meet
Anaheed lost her husband three years ago. As a result, she is now the sole breadwinner for her family.
Like many Palestinians, Anaheed is spending Ramadan at home uncertain about the future:
I pray to Allah to help me and give me someone to support me after losing my husband. Our situation is becoming hard and now I am the only one to provide for my family.
I have to go to local organisations asking for help. Sometimes, I ask my neighbours for some rice or flour to cook for my children.
I used to give to others when my husband was alive and able to work. I am full of shame now when I ask for help.
Sadly, Anaheed is like tens of thousands of widows who are struggling to provide for their orphaned children.
Statistics indicate that there are in fact around 20,000 orphaned children in the Gaza Strip. Most of them depend on donations and charity to secure their basic needs.
Ramadan in Gaza: Islamic Relief providing care
With Ramadan now in full swing, families like Anaheed’s rely on outside support to help make Ramadan that little bit special:
Due to the hard situation, I cook lentils three times a week because they are cheap. I taught my children to be content with what we have.
I promised them I will cook the traditional Palestinian dish Maftool and stuffed cabbages if I can get hold of them.
Despite the hard situation, Anaheed still enjoys Ramadan very much, just like the many other people in need across Gaza.
People help each other and critically, Islamic Relief is on the ground providing much-needed support. We’re working hard to provide relief to families like Anaheed’s.
However, with the Covid-19 lockdown, we’ve had to work a little differently.
We can no longer hold public iftars for orphans and their families, where we’d not only provide nutritious meals but also host fun activities and games.
However, we’re still providing essential support to Anaheed and many other families in need.
We’ve distributed 9,816 food vouchers to allow 56,720 people such as Anaheed to purchase the items they most need for Ramadan such as beans, eggs, rice, lentils, sugar and cooking oil.
With each voucher, a family of five has enough food to last two weeks.
What’s more, we’ve also provided around 14,000 hot meals since the beginning of Ramadan to around 1,200 people in quarantine centres across Gaza.
Anaheed, of course, is delighted with the support we’ve been able to offer her:
I pray to Allah that Islamic Relief donors will continue to support us. I hope I can secure a sewing machine to be able to provide for myself.
Thank you for your continued support. It’s thanks to your generous donations, that we’re able to support windows in need like Anaheed and many, many more.
You are life-savers.
As Covid-19 spreads globally, millions more people are being pushed into poverty and face an impossible struggle with the virus.
In Gaza, two million Palestinians live in overcrowded and under-resourced conditions, where people have weak immune systems and everyone is vulnerable. Your Sadaqah and Zakat have the power to help save lives.
Will you keep a community safe from harm? Donate to Islamic Relief today and help save lives.