Green Hopes Gaza: stories of hope from the Gaza Strip

Some time ago we wrote about “Green Hopes Gaza”, a project of the ACS association that aims to transform a former open-air dump into a multifunctional center where the local community, forced to live within the Gaza Strip, can find new spaces of aggregation and expression also in communion with nature and the trees that are the source of life, a symbol of rebirth and protection. We are in constant contact with those in charge of the project because the situation in the Gaza Strip, as you can imagine, has worsened also because of the covid; we asked those who live in the area of the former landfill to answer some brief questions and tell us the story of how their life has changed thanks to the project “Green Hopes Gaza” by ACS.
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Mohammed, 23 years old from Al Nada

How would you define your life in the Gaza Strip?

Life in Gaza is not easy.

What difficulties do you find in your daily life?

We have many difficulties, including the embargo imposed on the Gaza Strip and the spread of the Coronavirus. The Strip is closed: it is hard to reach thirty years of age and not have the possibility to get married and have a family because I have no source of income.

How has your vital covid changed?

Our work has been hit hard, our social life reset; there is no more sociality among people, we have little time because of curfew, I work every day but since the Coronavirus crisis started I have not worked anymore and I do not know how to support my family.

What are your hopes for the future?

In the future, I hope that life will improve and the siege will end. I hope to find a real job that will allow me to support my family.

What is the Green Hopes Gaza project for you? Has it changed anything in your life?

Our neighborhood is isolated from the others and had no space for the population to gather. The Green Hopes Gaza project has brought happiness to the hearts of many inhabitants of this area: now we have an open space, a sports ground, a space to spend free time and I hope there will be other services for our children because we are in a densely populated border area.

Would you like to say something to the people who will read your interview in Italy?

We thank the Italians and invite them to do other projects, life is difficult in Gaza and these projects are very useful for us.

Yasser, 47 years old from El Izba

How would you define your life in the Gaza Strip?

Hard life, no work, we wake up every morning in the same situation we left the night before.

What difficulties do you find in your daily life?

The biggest problem is that my house was completely destroyed (editor’s note: in the Israeli attack in summer 2014) and I have already spent five winters in the shack, an hour ago my children were screaming and I discovered that a snake had entered the shack; the main problem is this, the house was destroyed in 2014 and since then I live in a metal shack and I still don’t know when the reconstruction of my house will start (editor’s note: “I don’t know when the reconstruction of my house will start”): the Italian government is rebuilding the houses in the neighborhood, many families have already been assigned new apartments, but not all the work is finished)

How has covid changed your life?

The virus has had a direct effect on my life: I am a heart patient and I have undergone many interventions, I am afraid and I try to avoid people to survive this crisis.

What are your hopes for the future?

I hope that life will improve not for me, but for my children. I have 3 children at home and I don’t have a future, and they don’t have a decent home to live in and I can’t make them study for the economic situation. I hope they will have a better future. I hope I can allow my daughter to continue her studies: she graduated last year but I don’t have the money to send her to university.

What is the Green Hopes Gaza project for you? Has it changed anything in your life?

I respect this project because the whole neighborhood needs this project and I hope it will be completed. It is the only open gathering space for the inhabitants, here we don’t have communal services like a park, sports areas or spaces for children.

Would you like to say something to the people who will read your interview in Italy?

We thank the Italians: we have a close relationship with them for many years, we thank them because they always support us.

Ziad, 46 years old from El Izba

How would you define your life in the Gaza Strip?

Routine kills us, there is never anything new, let’s hope the situation improves.

What difficulties do you find in your daily life?

Many difficulties, many things that I would like to do, for example to have my children study, live in a nice place. The place where I live lacks many things necessary to live (Editor’s note: it is in fact a dormitory district, isolated from the rest of the city).

How has covid changed your life?

It has changed everyone’s life, it has put distance between us. People don’t meet each other anymore, even the greetings on the street have become shorter, and the stores are closed most of the time, sometimes we have trouble getting the things we need. The closure of schools has also had many repercussions on our lives.

What are your hopes for the future?

I hope that the situation will improve and that everyone will work together to overcome the crisis.

What is the Green Hopes Gaza project for you? Has it changed anything in your life?

It is a project that has brought benefits to everyone and we hope it will continue and be completed soon so that the population will benefit even more: we will have the services we were missing, we will have a safe space for our children. Everyone is happy with this project.

Would you like to say something to the people who will read your interview in Italy?

We thank the Italian people very much and we hope they will continue to support us, because this is reflected in our lives, we need this support.