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Christian youth in Gaza reap fruitful results from job creation program

Published: July 04 Thu, 2019

Christian youth in Gaza reap fruitful results from job creation program Available in the following languages:

GAZA – On October 1, 2018, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in cooperation of the Holy Family Parish, launched the job creation and capacity building program in the Gaza Strip. Nine months later, the 20 Christian youth benefiting from the program are reaping the fruits of their work and seeing the new career prospects of this project.

In 2018, the unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip reached 52%; 75% among women, 44% among men and 69 among the youth. Therefore, countering the problem of unemployment, especially among the youth, is one of the goals of this project. Out of 60 applicants that submitted their candidacy for the program, 20 candidates were chosen to fill in positions in religious, educational, social, medical and development institutions, for a period of 12 months.

Another goal of the project is building the youth’s work experiences and life skills and introducing them to the work market in Gaza beyond the Christian institutions and community. This step will in turn help them gain wider work experiences and let them fulfil their natural role as contributing individuals just like their Muslim counterparts.

Nine months after the implementation of the project, the Christian youth were able to alleviate some of the suffering they have to endure in their daily life not only financially, but mentally as well. “The program gave me a new meaning for life. I feel that I have a purpose in life now,” said Maysa Khouri, a 25-year-old woman working as a pharmacist. “Having a job gives me hope. Before getting this opportunity, I used to stay at home thinking of the situations here. Now I am thinking of how to develop myself and improve my skills.”

Immigration is always a recurrent thought in the minds of the youth in Gaza, as living under a blockade with little to no career prospects can have a toll on everyone there. For Ramzi Amash, being part of the 20 candidates who got accepted into the program changed his mind about leaving his country. Now, he is working as an IT Officer at the Holy Family Parish and is able to support his family and thinking of establishing one of his own.

Elias Fashho is another candidate who was accepted into the job creation program. In fact, Elias was fortunate to find a job at UNRWA after his graduation, where he worked for 7 years. But one day, his services were terminated when UNRWA ran into a financial crisis, after the US stopped its funding to the organization in 2018, which obliged the UN organization to make deep cuts to its health and employment programs. However, the job creation program gave him another chance to keep supporting his wife and new baby boy and develop his skills. As an IT engineer at the Aisha Association for Women and Child Protection, he created a new system to secure the association’s database, which enabled it to stop outsourcing IT issues to external companies. Now, Elias is expecting to have a full-time job after the end of his contract.

The realization of this program would not have been possible without the generous donation of the German Knights and Dames of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher.

Saher Kawas