The situation in Gaza is unbearable for many. It has been described as an “open-air prison”, and has worsened amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places on Earth. It has a population of approximately 2.1 million people and since 2007 it has been under a land, sea and air blockade imposed by Israel.

Years of conflict and the blockade have left 80% of the population dependent on humanitarian assistance to survive. Access to clean water is not possible for 95% of the population, and there is an ongoing power shortage which impacts upon essential services like health, water and sanitation. Almost half of Gaza’s people do not have enough food, around 60% of children are anaemic and many children suffer from stunted growth due to malnutrition. 

Over 50 schools were damaged in the latest conflict in Gaza. Schools had already been shut due to Covid-19, and now education is out of reach for tens of thousands of children.

Every one of Gaza’s children has the right to education and we must invest now to ensure that every child is able to fulfil their dreams. 

Fear of an unknown future

“In a few months, I will be completing high school. I am afraid that I will not get good grades, or that I might not even be able to complete my studies”, says 17-year-old Mohammad from Gaza.

“I am one of the distinguished students, but I still need supplementary lessons in some subjects because the curriculum is difficult. However, our economic situation does not allow for this as my father cannot pay the fees for the supplementary lessons.

“My dream is to graduate from university and specialise in social work, because I would like to help others, especially the young people.

“Sometimes I feel despair and frustration, and I’m very worried about not being able to understand the lessons or get supplementary lessons.

“What makes everything more difficult is that we are learning online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Not being in school means that I will not have the opportunity to ask teachers questions about things I do not understand.

“Studying online has been very difficult for me because you need to have a laptop or mobile phone to follow the lessons, but we cannot afford these.

“Even if I had those, I would need internet and electricity, but the electricity is often cut off. This is the case now after the bombing began.

“We were supposed to do the final exams for the eleventh grade after the blessed month of Ramadan, but the bombing came, which lasted for 11 days. The situation was very difficult and like the rest of my family, I was very afraid.

“It was difficult to concentrate on my studies when I heard explosions all around me.

I lost my cousin in the bombing. I feel a lot of sadness now, and I don’t know how I will continue my life without him. We used to play and were always going out together.

“Many of my friends’ homes were destroyed during the bombing, and I always wonder how they will continue their education.

“Although I dream of completing my education, what worries me the most is that when I graduate from university, I will not be able to find a job opportunity that will help me improve my family’s condition and help build my future. I am afraid that I will sit at home like thousands of other graduates right now”, he says.