Rafah families celebrate their new greenhouses
“My children enjoy helping me in the greenhouse. They are happy and their smiles just melt my heart.” — Abdel Naser, Rafah, Gaza
A greenhouse is a new start for Mahmoud and his family in Rafah
Mahmoud, 51, lives with his 11-member family in the southern city of Rafah, Gaza. His disabled mother and married son are among them, all living in one small house. Gaza's deteriorated economy and fragile health system have made life difficult for them. Mahmoud also worries about giving his children access to the best education. Two of his daughters are in college, for instance, and providing funds for tuition is a struggle for him.
Before Anera finished building the greenhouse, Mahmoud did not have a stable job. Sometimes he rented a farm and grew some vegetables to sell at the market. But that brought its own challenges. He didn't always have the right equipment or resources available.
Now he has a greenhouse, an irrigation system, and seedlings on his own plot of land. He has everything he needs to get the business off the ground and make it profitable for his family.
“This project will serve us very well. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it," Mahmoud says.
One nice benefit of the greenhouse is that the family knows they can grow safe food. "We are going to supervise the whole process from A to Z. We will ensure our food is free of chemicals and sprays. Health comes first. I am so glad to keep this space green and am looking forward to seeing it flourish.”
Abdel Naser’s family smiling again in their new greenhouse
Abdel Naser, 46, is a father of five children from Rafah in southern Gaza. Anera recently built a new greenhouse on his family's land.
“I have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, but I have never been able to get a steady job,” Abdel Naser says. "The work I got was always temporary, at UNRWA schools. And the pay is always low." He then turned to helping his neighbors sell vegetables at the market. But he still could not provide for all of his children's basic needs.
"Living with little income has left me feeling stressed and unstable on many levels," he says. "But I believe this greenhouse will change that."
Anera built the greenhouse one month ago on Abdel Naser's land. He immediately prepared it for the new tomato crops. “When I was young, I worked with my father on his little farm, planting different kinds of crops. I'm using that experience now in my own greenhouse.”
He is beginning to see a change in his family's spirits. “My children enjoy helping me in the greenhouse. They are happy and their smiles just melt my heart.” Abel Naser says.
Now Abdel Naser is beginning to dream. He is already thinking of how to expand. “I want to plant more and different kinds of crops. That way we will have greater variety and a higher income."
“I am not working in the field I chose," he says, "but I like the freedom that farming gives me. I'm excited to improve and grow."
Thanks to generous support from the Zakat Foundation, Anera recently completed construction of greenhouses for families in Gaza. The greenhouses are owned and operated by the families, enabling them to grow produce for personal consumption and sell the surplus for income. Both greenhouses featured above are expected to generate 2,000 to 2,500 kilograms (4,409 to 5,512 lbs.) of tomatoes per harvest, with a surplus netting each family $886 to $1,108 (3,200 to 4,000 NIS).