Omar and his family have seen their only source of income devastated in armed conflict. But timely humanitarian support brought back hope to their lives.
Omar is a 35-year-old farmer from Gaza. He and his wife raise seven children aged 2 to 13, including one daughter with epilepsy. They also support Omar’s elderly parents, both of whom are sick too. He himself struggles with an underactive thyroid. The entire family lives off a piece of land that they cultivate year-round. But they hardly make ends meet.
“Our top priority is health care,” Omar says. “If we have enough money, we pay for medication, for my daughter, my mother and me. But this means we often can’t afford paying for things as basic as food or clothing.”
In 2021, their tomato crops were affected by a disease, reducing their profits.
But that was not all of it. In May that year, hostilities escalated again in Gaza, with intense fighting between armed Palestinian groups and Israeli forces. Hundreds of people were killed, and thousands were injured. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged, some destroyed altogether, and so were workplaces and civilian facilities providing basic services.
Omar’s farmland was hit and damaged. The family was forced to take on debts to buy new agricultural materials and rehabilitate the land. Their losses and debts seemed impossible to overcome. “I felt paralyzed,” Omar recalls. “I wasn’t sure how I would get out of these accumulated debts.” The whole family was depressed and anxious.
Luckily, later that year, Omar’s family was provided with financial and technical assistance to obtain agricultural inputs, rehabilitate the land and re-plant the crops. It was part of a larger humanitarian operation. Supported by the occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund (oPt HF), ACTED and the Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD) provided cash assistance to 676 vulnerable households, including 156 small-scale farmers, to restore their income sources.
Thanks to this help, Omar’s family could recover from the shocks they had endured, and even generated more income than that obtained during the previous season. With this, they could pay for a large part of their debts and cover education expenses and workers’ wages.
“The support gave us our lives back,” Omar says. “My family and I managed to improve our situation without being suffocated with debts. We’re very grateful for ACTED, ACAD and the donors for their generous support.”
* Omar’s name was changed to respect his privacy.