Baking Up Ma’moul for Ramadan Helps Build A Business in Gaza

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Kifaah prepares baked goods in the market.

Al Nusairat Market, located in central Gaza, is buzzing with lively energy. Store owners in the area are eager to sell to the women and men that crowd the streets.

In one area of the market lies a hidden gem, a small store where the smell of cakes and sweet ma’moul, a traditional Arabic cookie filled with sweet dates or nuts, waft in the air. This store belongs to Kifaah, age 33, a baker and beneficiary of Anera’s Women Can program.

“I trained to become a baker and I also learned baking strategies from my husband. The business supports our family of five children: three girls and two boys, ranging from 8 to 16 years old,” says Kifaah.

Kifaah and her husband.

However, for the past five years, Kifaah was on a baking hiatus due to fatigue and her husband’s illness. This Ramadan, she began to make cakes and ma’moul once again alongside her husband and son.

Every day, the bakery is busy and baking the goods requires careful execution.

To start, they roll out the dough and prepare the cookie filling, a delicious and sweet date paste. Next, they shape the cakes and ma’moul and fill them with the date paste. Once set, they place the cookies in the oven for several minutes.

Once they remove the cakes and ma’moul out of the oven, Kifaah’s husband lets them cool on a rack and covers them with airtight plastic bags, which will maintain the crispness and taste of these special treats.

“In a single day, we make anywhere 170 to 200 kilograms of cakes and date-stuffed ma’mouls. Upon special requests, we also make ma’mouls stuffed with walnuts and pistachios,” says Kifaah’s husband. He emphasizes that the business has been extremely busy during Ramadan.

Look at all those cakes!

But the hard work pays off, and the business has quite the reputation. One customer said that Kifaah’s cakes and ma’moul are “unmatched.”

Although Kifaah works from a small location at the market at 250 Shekels daily, she hopes to have her own storefront one day that is much bigger. She also hopes that the demand for cakes and ma’moul will grow so that she can make more money.

With the current success of her business, and the amount of adoring customers, Kifaah is on her way to achieving her goal.

This project is being implemented with the generous support of the Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA). The views expressed herein are those of American Near East Refugee Aid (Anera) and shall not, in any way whatsoever, be construed to reflect the official opinion of IRUSA, its Islamic Relief affiliates, or its donors.



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