“The wall is suffocating the village; it’s a physical and psychological prison that’s prohibiting us from moving and being productive."
"Most young men here are apathetic and not well-educated because of the terrible financial situation.”
That’s how Jamila Al-Fqaih describes the unfortunate reality as she sees it. Like most women of her village, Jamila is a strong and confident woman attached to her land and determined to create a better future for her children. Luckily, she’s one of many villagers able to take advantage of agricultural courses conducted by agronomists at a new center in the heart of her village of Beit Liqya, west of Ramallah.
The Social Activity Center, funded by IFAD and constructed by Anera, has lent a helping hand – through a variety of social and educational opportunities – to the 10,000 residents of Beit Liqya, especially its unemployed who make up 45% of the population.
“The courses taught me a lot, especially home gardening. I don’t use any chemical material at all now; everything’s organic. I plant all kinds of vegetables like eggplant, cauliflower, green peas, chick peas and cucumber.”
Jamila plants her garden for the family’s self-sufficiency, but if there’s an excess, she is always happy to give it away to relatives and people in need.
“Before the course at the center, I used to try and plant things but nothing ever succeeded.” Jamila and her husband take care of their home garden together every day. “I love my piece of land a lot and I love taking care of it. My husband was a taxi driver and recently got into a bad accident and is looking for a new job. In the meantime, he is enjoying working with me in the garden. We only wish we had a bigger piece of land we could cultivate and make a living off of.”
With the increasing financial responsibilities and the worsening financial situation, Jamila took up tailoring as a secondary source of income to help her family. She has two sewing machines and is waiting on a loan to expand her business. With the money she made off of tailoring, she was able to build a small grocery shop right next to her house, which she opens every day.
‘We have a small shop I work in to pay for my children’s university tuition fees. They’re studying anthropology, business administration and law at Birzeit University and Al-Quds Open University. I’m sacrificing to educate my children. Education is the most important thing in life especially in such circumstances of occupation. Education is not merely a weapon, it’s a cannon!”