In the devastating aftermath of my father’s battle with cancer two years ago, I became the sole provider for my family of six at 24. Among them, a 7-year-old sister, a 16-year-old brother battling disabilities like epilepsy and delayed motor functions, and another brother, 19, studying business in Gaza (Who now has no university to go back to). Meanwhile, my younger sister is pursuing her master’s in accounting in the US on a scholarship, but the barriers of Gaza kept us apart for seven long years.
Blessed with various scholarships from the US Department of State in Jerusalem, including participation in the YES and Tomorrow’s Leaders programs. My academic journey, paved the way for my role at one of the international non-profit organizations in Gaza. For two years, I’ve worked as a program coordinator, facilitating international experts’ recruitment, entry to Gaza and scheduling for workshops, events and one-on-one mentorship sessions to young women and men to excel in the field of tech and entrepreneurship and bring the world closer to them.
Yet, the haunting events of October 7th shattered our lives irreversibly. Desperate for shelter amid the chaos, securing basic necessities like bread, clean water, and electricity became a daily struggle (With almost no luck after waiting in long cues for all of these). My brother’s health deteriorated as we ran out of his medication, intensifying his seizures due to fear and lack of proper care. Our attempts to find refuge in different houses proved futile, with bombings in the neighborhood forcing us to return to our unsafe home where currently we have around 6 families sheltering in it.
For the past two weeks, obtaining essential items, especially food, has been impossible. With people evacuating to Rafah, even basic food is scarce, and venturing out to find it has yielded no results. The situation has escalated into a catastrophic nightmare, with people sleeping in the streets without shelter from the rain or bombing. I’ve lost friends, and others lost members of their families leaving us to bear the unbearable weight of their unimaginable losses.
I could never have envisioned a more heart-wrenching catastrophe. The violence, escalating beyond imagination, was never my wish. My constant struggle was to provide for my family and uplift the lives of women and talented men, but in the current circumstances, these aspirations seem like distant echoes of a life that once held promise.
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