Sharif* is a business administration graduate who has been trying to provide for himself and his family – he is their sole provider. He volunteered with many organisations hoping to gain the skills and experience to secure a decent job.
But after a year applying for every available job, all in vain, he made the hard decision to leave everything behind to seek asylum in Europe in pursuit of a better life:
You can’t say we are living a normal life in Gaza. Once a young man cannot buy himself an item of clothing, a good meal, or even live a secure peaceful life, life becomes worthless.
I am leaving Gaza dreaming that things will get better for me. But I am uncertain how it will turn out. (Sharif)
Unlike Sharif, Rawand is not leaving Gaza, but she is feeling frustrated with the lack of employment opportunities at home. An outstanding translator, she has worked in many organisations but has suffered as businesses downsize and jobs become increasingly scarce.
When we were in college she graduated top of her class, yet she lost many chances for postgraduate studies abroad due to movement restrictions.
Youth in Gaza are losing hope more and more without any way of salvation. I am one of the unemployed youth who graduated and volunteered for several years.
Suddenly, with this chaotic situation, lack of funding, and the high unemployment rate, I have been jobless for more than two years now, even though I have extensive experience in translation.
Furthermore, our dreams of postgraduate studies, are suspended by the movement restrictions, social norms, and being financially incapacitated. (Rawand)
Then there’s Mahmoud, who grew up in an orphanage in the Gaza Strip. He is a young artist who is trying to build a better future:
I tried teaching, training, and volunteering for any opportunity, as I want to invest in something that I love and make a living from my passion. (Mahmoud)
Mahmoud tried to invest in his artistic talent to make a living for himself and his family. However, it is very hard to convince families to spend money on artwork when they cannot even meet their basic needs, such as food.
Mahmoud travelled to Europe for higher education, and decided not to return.
Big dreams at risk of being extinguished