Greenhouses are sustaining families in Gaza. Anera has helped 40 families in Gaza with essential tools and training to install greenhouses on their properties.
Food for the Family
Jalal has long struggled to find stable income to provide for his family of seven. They live in the Zeitoun area of Gaza. “Gaza’s economy is really slow and things don’t flow as we want. It’s as if we’re living all by ourselves in this universe,” he said.
Jalal has a plot of land available and good farming skills, but he couldn’t take advantage of these natural assets because he didn’t have the resources to plant and nurture his crops. For a long time, Jalal has resorted to hiring himself out as a laborer on other people’s farms.
How Anera Donors Have Changed Things for This Gaza Family
Jalal and his family recently worked with Anera staff to build a greenhouse, install a simple irrigation system and plant seedlings on their land.
Now the family is growing a variety of vegetables like eggplants, green pepper, tomatoes and onion. They keep a close eye on the market to take advantage of opportunities to sell their produce, but much depends on the border opening and whether or not it’s the beginning or end of the season. In the meantime, Jalal and his wife can use the produce to feed their family. They used to have to spend their limited money on buying vegetables, but now they can use their financial resources on other things, like clothes for their children.
Nihaya, Jalal’s wife, says “my husband trained our oldest son to take care of the greenhouse when he returns from school. He is really helpful with weeding, spraying and irrigating the crops.”
In their 969 square foot (90m2) greenhouse, in just one season, Jalal’s family harvested 441 pounds (200 kilos) of eggplants, 551 pounds (250 kilos) of tomatoes, and 331 pounds (150 kilos) of onions.
Selling Surplus Produce In The Market
Nabawiya Aeraj and her family live near Jalal in Zeitoun. Before participating in Anera’s greenhouse project, Nabawiya’s land wasn’t very productive. She was totally dependent on social services and couldn’t afford to buy supplies to use the space properly. Now that she has a greenhouse, Nabawiya can practice what she grew up seeing her father do in his fertile groves.
“I let my husband help me plowing and weeding, but I take care of the planting,” she grinned.
Now, Nabawiya is picking her own ripe produce. Her flourishing red tomatoes have helped pay for her hard work on the land. She uses environmentally safe fertilizers so her produce takes longer to ripen, but overall her process is healthier. “I use organic compost, no chemicals. We should look at what we’re feeding our kids,” she says. Nabawiya recently produced 900 kilos of tomatoes and sold a little more than a third while donating a few to her neighbors. With her income, she was able to buy a gas-filled-canister so she can cook for her children.
With funds from a variety of donors, Anera helped 40 impoverished families in Gaza with essential tools and training to install greenhouses on their properties.