Warm Winter Clothing for Gaza’s Neediest Families

January 25, 2017 ANERA
Gaza, Humanitarian Relief
Samaher poses with her children, who all received new winter clothes as part of the voucher program in Gaza. Samaher poses with her children, who all received new winter clothes as part of the voucher program in Gaza.

In a cold house in Gaza, the Zarqa family stares into a crackling fire. The family had to light the fire, made of wood, to cope with the harsh and windy winter. It helps bring a little warmth to their frigid home.

Winter has put the family in a difficult situation. With little money, they had to choose between food and clothing. “We opted for food,” said Hayat, the mother. “But my kids have never had warm winter clothes.”

The Zarqa children are like many impoverished kids in Gaza. Without adequate warmth and winter clothing, children often fall ill with colds and the flu. Winter is a bleak season for these underprivileged families.

Winter in Gaza Brings Struggles to Neighbors

Ahmed is bundled up in new clothes inside his Gaza home. Without electricity, they rely on fires to keep warm inside.

Without electricity, Ahmed’s family relies on fires to keep warm.

A few blocks away, the Sakani family has their own share of troubles this winter. They struggle with daily power outages and a lack of any kind of heating. Like the Zarqa family, the Sakanis rely on a homemade fire to keep warm.

Laundry days are difficult for mother Samaher. On those days, her four children have to wait at home for their only clothes to dry. “We dry the clothes inside the house, but this increases the moisture inside and makes it even colder,” she said.

But today the four Sakani children are bundled in new sweaters and coats as they sit around a flickering flame. They received the new clothes as part of a winter clothing voucher program provided by ANERA this winter. “It’s an incredibly kind gesture from a big heart,” said Samaher.

The Sakani siblings are all happy with their colorful new clothes. Samaher, too, is delighted. The program surpassed her expectations, as she found a bounty of choices from the winter clothing store. “I thought it would be only a jacket and little else.”

When Samaher received the winter clothing voucher, she took her two daughters along with her to the store. Inside, Walla and Alaa excitedly rifled through different styles, choosing among their favorite colors and patterns.

“I used to pass by these store windows with sadness, because I could never afford buying anything,” said Samaher. “Our family functions by passing down clothes from older siblings to the younger ones. I sometimes buy secondhand sweaters and jackets, too.”

Alaa's family needs Gaza winter relief to get through this season.

Alaa poses with her new winter coat from ANERA’s voucher program.

Behind the Scenes: ANERA Staff Select the Best Items

Staff members at ANERA’s Gaza office ensured that all of the clothes in the voucher program were of the highest quality for the price. The program served 2,500 children from ages 4-12 with their own packages of warm winter clothing.

First, each recipient got a voucher with their name on it. Children and their parents redeemed their vouchers at a pre-selected store, stocked with various clothing items of different colors and styles.

The team spent the last several weeks acquiring winter items like jackets, hats, gloves, pajamas and scarves. They chose one store in Gaza City where families could redeem their vouchers. The store opened four warehouses across Gaza, in Gaza City, the North, El Shuka and Middle Gaza. This is the second year in a row that ANERA has supplied warm winter clothes for the children of Gaza.

Now Gaza families have a chance of withstanding the cold and wind.

Families pick through items in ANERA's Gaza winter relief selection.

Many of Gaza’s poorest families have to choose between eating or staying warm in winter.

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