Raeda Sukkar, 28

"Our home was destroyed, and we were only able to return to it after two and a half years."

On the blockade 

For me, the blockade means not being able to communicate with the outside world. I cannot realize my rights in the country where I live. 

I have a right to live with security and stability in a country free of war and full of peace. I have the right for an education and health services, to work and move around, to express myself freely. My rights come from humanitarian and international law.

It is unacceptable to live in an inhuman situation, however we get used to finding alternatives. 

I have learned to live with the blockade because while it is a bitter reality, life continues. I have learned to live with the blockade by always seeking alternatives, like using the internet to learn. 

Life continues despite the very difficult circumstances we live under. 

On housing

My family and I were made homeless by the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Our home was destroyed, and we were only able to return to it after two and a half years. It cost us an incredible amount of time and effort to repair and rebuild what was left of our home.

Around 17,800 homes were damaged or destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the 2014 assault on Gaza.

When we tried to rebuild, we had to wait months for the cement to enter Gaza because of the blockade. We receive the cement in installments. Every time we get some, we use this scarce product to rebuild a small part of our home and then wait for more. 

It wasn't just our home. Because of the attack, the whole area lacked basic infrastructure including electricity, water, and communications. The area is still not ready for residents to return. 

All I have to say is that we want peace. 

I have learned to live with the blockade while completing my BA degree and dreaming of obtaining an MA, but the economic situation is difficult and there are hardly any permanent jobs. One must take on unexpected burdens. 

I have learned to live with the blockade by accepting a job in a field away from my academic training because I must meet needs of my family. This is our only source of income.

On employment

The blockade impacts work. It has stopped both volunteers and employees from exchanging experience and knowledge. It halts participation in conferences both locally (in the West Bank) and internationally (abroad).

For my work, the blockade has impeded access to things such as Braille machines and other specialized equipment we use with people with special needs. Also, the fuel shortage has increased the burden of the organization and caused the postponement of programs. Funding is also difficult; most of the funding for Gaza targets infrastructure and rebuilding. This decreases our chances to starting development projects. 

The atmosphere at work due to the constant pressure from the situation is also a problem. Israeli military attacks, the economic situation, the water and electricity crisis, etc.—all of this creates psychological and social pressure. That then leads to an unhealthy environment among colleagues, and people cannot perform to the best of their ability.

 

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