Free 'Eid clothes' distributed in Gaza

Free 'Eid clothes' distributed in Gaza
Feature: A charity market in Gaza is providing new clothes and other supplies to more than 300 poor families in Gaza free of charge over the Eid weekend.
3 min read
17 July, 2015
Many Muslims traditionally buy new clothes for their children for Eid [alAraby]
Umm Omar Arafat was overjoyed at the news.

The 35-year-old would be able to pick new clothes for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr for her children from a charity market set up by the Anwar Relief and Development Association in western Gaza City.

Many Muslims traditionally buy new clothes for their children to wear on Eid.

The popular market seeks to provide new clothes and other supplies for Eid, free of charge, to more than 300 of Gaza City's poorest families. The market also gives discounts to other Gaza families with limited income.

Umm Omar told al-Araby al-Jadeed that she went to the market at noon, braving the heat during the final days of the Ramadan fast, to make sure her children had new clothes, like their peers. She said the items on offer at the market have now met the needs of her family.

Umm Omar is visibly impressed. She has no income and relies on social assistance, and hopes the popular market will be re-opened through the year to help Gazans in need.

The market comprises shops and stalls selling various Eid supplies - from clothes and shoes to sweets and nuts, as well as makeup, accessories, perfumes, housewares and gifts.

Haitham Kabaja, president of al-Anwar, told al-Araby al-Jadeed the market had been established to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza, who have been struggling to cope under the nine-year blockade imposed by Israel.
     The market is possible due to the generous contributions of philanthropic merchants.

The blockade has crippled much of life in the coastal enclave, forcing hundreds of families into poverty and unemployment.

Kabaja said the market, which has been set up for the second year in a row, is possible due to the generous contributions of philanthropic merchants supplying items at discounted break-even prices. The people in charge of the market sell the goods at a negligible profit.

The head of the association said any proceeds are used to finance coupons to families in need, and stressed the goods on offer are of the same quality as goods available in other markets.

The market has also helped provide temporary jobs to around 40 young people. Mahmoud Abdul-Salam told al-Araby that he immediately agreed to the offer to work at the market for two weeks. The 25-year-old said this was better than sitting at home without any income or work, even though he graduated from university more than three years ago.

Abdul-Salam said there were a lot of customers, while pointing to the high quality of the goods offered at discount. The market opens in the morning and remains open throughout the night.

Abdul-Salam said that he now plans to set up his own stall to sell accessories and makeup, having learned something about the trade, in the hope this would help him cope with the tough living conditions and cover his expenses.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.