Fairuz, a 45-year-old Palestinian woman and her family’s sole breadwinner, has learned to eke out a living in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip by selling bread crumbs to local bird breeders.
Fairuz and her seven children and husband, the latter of whom suffers acute kidney problems, live in a cold, wet house that is largely in ruins.
They have no choice but to sleep on plastic tarpaulins under a roof patched together from pieces of tin.
In order to meet her family’s most basic needs, Fairuz collects bread crumbs from her neighbors, schools and refugee camps.
She then sells the crumbs at a market in the nearby city of Khan Yunis, where she manages to make about $5 a day.
This amount is, however, is insufficient to feed her children or pay for her husband’s medical treatment.
“Sometimes I can’t even buy enough water and have to ask my neighbors for help,” Fairuz told Anadolu Agency, lamenting that water provided by the local authorities was generally too salty to drink.
Struggling with poverty, sickness and other travails, Fairuz hopes to eventually find more suitable employment so as to better provide for herself and her family.
According to UN data, roughly 80 percent of the Palestinians in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip require humanitarian assistance.
For the last 12 years, the Gaza Strip has continued to groan under a crippling Israeli blockade that has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.