Almost 30% of the population across the Palestinian Territories live below the national poverty line. Amongst a population of around 4.6 million people, hundreds of thousands of families are struggling with economic hardship. Unemployment levels have reached more than 27%, leaving the area with the highest rate of unemployment worldwide.
In addition, water and electricity shortages across Gaza are putting livelihoods, as well as the health of local communities, at risk. A lack of safe water can be especially deadly for children. In Gaza, due to power shortages, inadequate sewage systems and high levels of salt in the water, 97% of the water is unfit for domestic purposes, posing a huge health risk.
For people across the Palestinian Territories, life is incredibly challenging:
- Over 2.2 million registered refugees live in Gaza and the West Bank (UNRWA, 2019)
- Around half the population across the Palestinian Territories are in need of humanitarian aid (UNICEF, 2018)
- Over 1 million people in Gaza are at risk of contracting water-borne diseases (WHO, 2018)
- At 54%, Gaza has the highest unemployment rate in the world (World Bank, 2018)
Islamic Relief in Palestine
Islamic Relief has been providing humanitarian relief in Palestine since 1994 and have always been on the ground, responding to frequent emergencies with emergency relief. Non emergency work has included food distributions, medical relief and orphan sponsorship. Islamic Relief has also established educational enhancement centres, care programs for traumatized children and a school for the deaf.
Islamic Relief is providing 20 widows in the Gaza Strip with higher education in order to equip them to become financially independent.
With an ongoing conflict, most people have lost a friend or family to the violence. But when a woman is widowed, it can become extremely difficult for her to enter the job market. Usually she would be forced to return to her parents home or to remarry, which isn’t always feasible, particular when she has children to look after.
Our project is paying for the tuition fees, textbooks and educational materials transport to university for the two years it takes the 20 widows to complete their degrees. The programme, which is now in its second year, aims to help women complete higher education, secure jobs and support their children.