Khalidiya, 51, lives in Beit Hanoun, an area devastated by the bombing in May 2021. Here, she explains how it turned her life upside-down, and what it takes to survive in Gaza.
My family and I lived in a rented house for a long time before we built our own home. It took years for us to build our dream house: it was 140 square metres, and it had a lot of space and beauty.
We were very happy there. The feeling of peace and harmony I experienced while living there will never be forgotten. But that feeling was destroyed in the blink of an eye, when the bombs started falling around us.
During the bombardment in May 2021, Gaza seemed to be completely on fire. It was a hail of missiles, a downpour. Bombs every second, everywhere. On the way, we saw buildings destroyed, and bodies in the streets.
Our area was regarded as a safe one. So when we heard the bombing, we did not expect it to strike where we lived.
There was no time to think before the bomb struck the front door of our house. The electricity went out, smoke spread, and the area set on fire, instantly. We have lost so much since that fateful day when we had to leave everything behind. We now struggle to pay our rent because of our poverty.
Left alone with 6 children
During the 2008 – 2009 attacks on Gaza, my life changed in a matter of minutes as the bombs claimed my husband, the father of my children. I was devastated, and I couldn’t comprehend why I was left behind with my 6 young children all alone. My husband loved our children, he used to spoil them a lot and was amazing with them.
In the aftermath of his passing, it was up to me to educate and raise my children. Through Allah and the generosity of others, such as Islamic Relief, who sponsored 2 of my children, I was able to do so.
It is my dream to be reunited with my family in my old house and to live comfortably and happily again.
One year after the bombing, the damage to Khalidiya’s home was repaired and she and her children were able to move back home. But thousands of other homes in Gaza remain uninhabitable. Islamic Relief have been a lifeline, providing the family with assistance through our child welfare programming. We sponsor over 7,000 orphaned children in Gaza, giving their families a regular stipend towards their basic needs and schooling. We also improve access to quality preschool and education and support schools with water, sanitation and hygiene interventions.
There are thousands of Palestinians with stories like Khalidiya’s. Peace and security must be restored to the region, with a permanent solution rooted in international law and justice found to end the Israeli occupation. The UN Security Council must take action to end the attacks on civilians in the Occupied Palestine Territory. The international community must assume its historical, legal, and political responsibility to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and address injustice and inequality there to enable Palestinians to regain their legitimate rights.
Please continue to support our vital work in Gaza, as we help its people to rebuild their lives and communities. Donate to our Palestine Emergency Appeal today.