Poverty promotes child labor in Gaza

Ahmad *, 13, does not go to school every morning like other children of his age. Instead, he will work

“Every day, I’m going to look for scrap and gravel in the rubble of houses destroyed during the past wars,” he says. “Every day, I carry steel and stones, I load them on my donkey and I go to the market to sell them to companies that will make gravel and construction materials. It’s a very difficult job. ”



Ahmad’s father is sick and can not work. The 11 members of his family live under a tin shelter in one of the poor neighborhoods of Gaza City. In summer, the heat becomes unbearable under the metal roof, while in winter, they are not protected from cold or floods.

The family gets help from charitable organizations, but that is not enough to make ends meet.

“My brothers and I are working to earn a few shekels. I never know how much I’m going to leave, it all depends on how much steel and gravel I’m going to find and how much time I can spend working before the donkey and I start to tire. It’s always exhausting that I come home, “says Ahmad.

Ibrahim*, l’un des frères d’Ahmad, âgé de 10 ans, le rejoint pour travailler à la fin de sa journée d’école.

“I dream of being able to move with my family to a big, beautiful house and to wear nice clothes,” says Ibrahim.

Degradation of economic conditions




According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, child labor has increased significantly over the past five years as the economic situation in the Gaza Strip deteriorates. This rise contradicts the trends: in 2013, the International Labor Organization reported that the number of working children had fallen by one-third since 2000. Nearly 40% of Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip live in poverty. poverty threshold and 70% depend on some form of external assistance.

Omar *, 13, is another child forced to work. His father does a good job, but even with the subsidies, the family barely has enough to pay for food and safe drinking water

“Every day after school, I go to the Gaza port to sell cookies and sweets. Sometimes I do not go to school at all. My family is poor, I have to work if we want to eat, “he explains.

Omar is not the first of his siblings to work. His two older brothers dropped out of school to work, and Omar had to start working after school. Gradually, he missed more and more hours and sometimes jumps days to help his family. He says he needs the money to help cover the household expenses, including drugs for his two other brothers and a sister who are all suffering from zinc deficiency.



Omar does not like his job because he does not feel safe.

“I’m always scared when I work at the port. I never felt protected. I am embarrassed at having to sell cookies to people and some people do not treat me well. Sometimes I see children my age playing and laughing with their parents while I sell my cookies. It makes me jealous, “he says.

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