Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Refugee Stories- ECHO /UNRWA partnership

Refugee Stories

ECHO /UNRWA partnership

‘Normal Life’, Courtesy of
UNRWA and the EU

September 2009 - Hebron

Raghda Tarayreh, 35, lives in Bani Na’im village in Hebron with her two children. Her husband has been in Beersheba prison, Israel, for 3 years and has another 3.5 yrs until his release.

Raghda and her children have lived for the last three years without a light, a fridge and heating. The couple had not yet installed electricity in their home at the time that Raghda’s husband, who was working as a driver when they married, was taken by the Israeli authorities.

As she can’t store food, Raghda takes her children to her mother’s house everyday to eat cooked food. In the winter, they also spend a lot of time there to avoid the bitter cold. The little support Raghda receives as a prisoner’s wife from the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoner Affairs goes to support her husband’s family first, leaving only 500 NIS a month for her and her sons.

Despite everything, Raghda has always believed in herself and striven for a better life. She gained experience with UNRWA’s job creation programme (JCP), which is supported by funding from by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO).

Raghda recently gained a diploma in Financial Management through the Open University and, once her kids could be admitted in the kindergarten, started to work. In July, she was hired as an administrator by the Hebron Municipality.

With the subsidy earned from the JCP, Raghda installed electricity at home. Now, using her mother’s old washing machine, she is able to do the laundry at home. The next step, she says, will be to buy a fridge and begin a ‘normal life’.

Raghda, her mother and a JCP monitor,
inspecting electricity cables by Raghda’s house.

“I am so happy that I have been able to do this for my family”, says Raghda. “I did something which is expected to be a man’s job, and I did it by myself. I am very proud of myself. The only trouble is that now my kids want a computer!”

Through its emergency programmes, UNRWA seeks to mitigate the worst impacts of the crisis and to meet the most pressing basic needs of affected refugees.

For the past 18 years, ECHO has supported UNRWA through a variety of programmes. UNRWA’s Job Creation Programme (JCP) receives nearly 50% of its backing from ECHO.

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