Corona virus undermines the income of a handicapped couple making dolls in Gaza


Sharjah 24 – AFP:
With skilled fingers, Nihad and Zainab weaved the dolls and colorful costumes, and until recently, the handicapped spouses were able to sell these dolls, but the “Coffed-19” pandemic negatively affected their financial situation.

And earning a living is a major challenge for the people of the Gaza Strip, who are surrounded by the Israeli entity, and subject to the control of Hamas, in light of an unemployment rate exceeding 50%, according to official figures.

However, the challenge is greater for Nihad Jarbou (37 years old), who suffers from a physical disability since childhood, and his wife Zainab (35 years old), whose feet were amputated five years ago, after suffering a rare disease after the birth of her second child.

The two-seat couple transformed their small house in the middle of the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, employing sewing dolls of cotton-padded cloth, and fancy, colorful costumes inspired by cartoon characters.

The man with the trimmed beard explains, we used to sell between 20 and 30 dolls per month, for 10 shekels per doll (about three dollars), before the current health crisis.

We have a clown band called “Dabdeeb”, which we have every month in a kindergarten or establishment for 20 shekels, but everything stopped due to SK.

The population of about two million people was not affected by the new Corona virus, as the Ministry of Health recorded 78 infections and one death in the sector, while in the West Bank there were 12,692 cases and 83 deaths.

Last March, the Hamas government imposed strict measures to close the Rafah border crossings with Egypt, and Beit Hanoun, which separates the sector from the Zionist entity, closed wedding halls, schools, and mosques, and prevented gatherings to curb the spread of the epidemic.

However, despite the easing of these procedures a few weeks ago, Gerboa received only two requests for clown parties.

Only a few customers came to his house to buy dolls at bargain prices since the start of the virus.

Jerboa added, the sale is currently very weak, due to the deteriorating economic situation with the appearance of the Corona epidemic, and he sometimes receives requests from some customers through his Facebook account, to make a doll or colorful clown fashion.

Zainab sits in her wheelchair, preparing a teapot on a fireplace next to her bed, and explaining with some challenge, with the spread of the Corona virus, the situation has become very difficult, but we will not give up.

Zainab and Nihad have two children, a seven-year-old girl and a five-year-old, and the woman suffers in arranging and cleaning her one-room brick-roofed house, placing her dolls and fashion tools in a small wooden cupboard where she also stores simple cooking utensils, and next to her a small bathroom.

“I have a will to challenge. I want to raise children to live a decent life. We need a livelihood and a livable home,” she said. “Now things are getting worse.”

The Jarbou family, which comes from the village of Bir Salem near Ramla, receives rationing aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), but this aid is not sufficient to provide food, according to Zainab.

Refugees constitute about two thirds of the population of the poor sector, which has been besieged by the Zionist entity for more than a decade, and the sector suffers from many crises, as the poverty rate in it exceeds 53%, according to economist Maher Al-Tabaa.

The responsible character in the Gaza Chamber of Commerce and Industry confirms that 80% of the population of the Strip depends on food aid, pointing out that the Corona crisis has deepened economic crises in the sector and halted the economy, and warned of increasing unemployment and poverty.

The closure of the border crossings in the Strip since last March has almost completely exacerbated the difficult economic and living conditions, according to Al-Tabaa ‘.


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