Ghadeer Mansour, 28

"I lost a golden opportunity that I dream about every day."

There is no relationship between my academic degree in control systems engineering and my current profession, and that is where my story starts. 

The siege takes many shapes. During my studies at university, I was surprised to see that there was not enough fuel for the taxi cab to get to my home, which is 25 kilometers from the university. Some drivers filled their tanks with cooking oil as an alternative to gas so you can imagine the fumes. I also suffered from the lack of school supplies.

I graduated from university and for a long time looked for work in my field. I won the prize for the best graduation project for "a car control app" through which you can control the functions of a car through a mobile phone, but unfortunately, the siege made it impossible for me to find the right environment to develop this project further.

This is when I began considering working on my hobby. I decided to produce accessories for ladies, such as shawls, jewelry, bags, etc. This was an extraordinary challenge for me because of the lack of the raw material in the local market.

Because of the blockade, 87% of garment factories closed.

I started my business and became a pioneer in this field. But I also have faced difficulties including high costs due to limited access to raw material in Gaza. I must pay a high price for materials to enter through the tunnels. My income also depends on the unsteady salaries of [Palestinian Authority] employees—my main customers. Also, the power in Gaza is very unstable and limited. 

Despite all of this, I have persevered, trying to develop further and show my products internationally. I have received numerous invitations to Europe and the West Bank, yet I am unable to get out of Gaza or to get my products out of Gaza due to the siege.

Last year, I was selected to travel to the USA on a special program funded through the U.S. Consulate to help pioneering Palestinian women. Unfortunately, I was denied the right to travel due to travel restrictions imposed by Israel. I lost a golden opportunity that I dream about every day.

I see myself developing further in this field and want to receive training from specialists in handicrafts, marketing, and project management when the siege is lifted. I also want to participate in international exhibitions. This is my simple aspiration.

 

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