Families in Musaddar village in central Gaza have found a place to relax ever since their new public park was inaugurated in August.
The nicely landscaped green space boasts a fountain at the entrance, a playground, benches, gazebos and picnic areas.
It is the only public recreation facility in the area that provides a safe, clean place for kids. When electricity goes out, people flock to the park to relax and get some relief from the burdens of Gaza living conditions.
Om Rami Abu Shabaan and her neighbor enjoy sitting and talking while their children play nearby. “Our children come here to play and have a good time,” she smiles. “We also can have parties in the park since it’s easy for everyone to gather here.”
Her neighbor agrees. “When the electricity goes out, we can come this peaceful and green place, far from dangerous and noisy streets,” explains Om Mahmoud, mother of six. “It is important to have these kinds of spaces, but they are rare in Gaza. This is the only public park in the area.”
Musaddar Municipality provides the most vital services to the area’s 9,000 residents but it does not have extra funds to provide other services. Anera built the 2,700 square meter park with USAID funding under the EWAS program. The park includes a new playground equipment, a cafeteria, store rooms, sunshades, tiled paths, as well as lush plantings.
Seventh-grader Wael Abu Zayed waits his turn to play his favorite soccer games. The 12-year-old lives in Zawayda, Middle Gaza. He says it’s not so far away and he likes coming to the park to enjoy fresh air and a calm environment.
38-year-old Yasser Al Mosader is charged with keeping the park clean. He says he’s proud of his work and delighted by the transformation in his village. He remembers that before the park, the site was just an abandoned area for trash dumping. He estimates that 50 people, young and old, enjoy the park every day. “There’s a place for everyone.”