Since the blockade of 2007, Gaza has relied on tunnels underneath the border with Egypt to bring in food supplies, clothes and shoes. But the recent political turmoil in Egypt has led to the demolition of 80% of the tunnels and that has caused price hikes in food, fuel, clothing and shoes.
Impoverished families who have received greenhouses and supplies through Anera’s home garden project say they are able to keep feeding their families despite the shortages in the marketplace. “I plant tomatoes and fulfill 75% of my family’s needs,” Kamel Al-Masri says. “It’s a huge worry to keep thinking of what to feed a family.”
Kamel says the home garden has also produced enough to sell extra tomatoes during the Ramadan season when food consumption dramatically increases. “I make 50 NIS ($13) for selling a 12-kilo box of tomatoes, which people use a lot in cooking.” Kamel says he has honed his skills through Anera’s training on best agriculture practices, organic composting and non-chemical pest control strategies.
New Crocs Shoes Coincide with Ramadan
And this summer, Kamel and other home garden families in Khan Younis got more than vegetables from the Anera project. Thanks to a generous donation from Crocs Cares, Anera has distributed 378 pairs of shoes to home garden families in Gaza, adults and children alike.
The distribution is the first phase of Anera's delivery of 8,000 pairs of Crocs shoes to needy adults and children in Gaza through a partnership with International Relief & Development.
Issam Sarhan says the new pair of shoes for his wife and his eight children is a luxury they could not have afforded. Issam used to work as a mechanic in Israel but developed cartilage disease that prevented him from working. He calculates the gift of shoes has saved him about 500 NIS ($130) and relieves the usual strains on the family budget. “We will not have to buy new shoes for school or for the holiday at the end of Ramadan because these shoes satisfy all occasions,” he said.
His young daughter Malak explains that everyone gets different colors. “Pink, orange, black and gray,” she adds with pride.
For Issam and his wife, it’s the quality that appeals most to them. “The shoes are excellent. The thick plastic will protect my children’s feet.” His wife adds, “I bought shoes that damaged quickly in the past. I would say these shoes will last for the whole year.”
Issam displays his sense of humor despite the many hardships his family endures, laughing as he describes an advantage of the new shoes: “My wife says she now can easily identify me by my florescent orange Crocs shoes.”