Bringing Help and Hope to Gaza
Twenty-three-year-old Heba Mansour lives with 13 of her family members in a modest house in the Rafah area in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. When she was three months old, Heba’s parents discovered that she suffered from Thalassemia, a genetic disease causing severe anaemia. Two of Mansour’s younger siblings suffer from the same health problem, 16-year-old Mahmoud and 12-year-old Hanan.
In spite of her health difficulties, Mansour graduated from university with a social science degree in 2008. She tries to live as normally as she can. “I remember my illness only when I go to the hospital for transfusion once every month or two,” she says.
Heba Mansour (center) with her two siblings Hanan and Mahmoud
When Mansour graduated, she volunteered with a local organization to try to find a source of income to improve her family’s meager $120 per month. She was also afraid of getting isolated at home. In early 2010, she heard about an International Relief & Development (IRD) project implemented through the Al Beit Al Said Society in the Rafah area that aims to provide temporary jobs for recent graduates through local NGOs. She immediately applied. “For the first time, I felt that I was lucky,” Mansour said. “The society was just about to send their graduates list when I went there and asked to participate in the project.”
Mansour started her work in the Al Beit Al Said Society on the first of April. The project offers physical and psychosocial health care for families in the Rafah area. Mansour was initially only very glad that she could help her family with an additional $330 per month. But after a while, she found that she also gained experience in her major. “During my work as a social worker, I have met with many families who are suffering because of their children’s sickness,” she explains. “My interventions with these families are very effective due to my understanding of their feelings and the difficulties they are facing. I discovered that my weakness can become my point of strength.”
“The society was surprised when we reviewed Heba’s cases reports,” says Nahed Zorob, Al Beit Al Said Project Coordinator. “For the first month of her work in the Society, Heba offered psychosocial, and health-care workshops and group sessions for 1,120 persons, which is a huge number compared to her colleagues. Heba has a creative ways to attract the beneficiaries to attend her sessions. Besides, she is a very understanding and open-minded social worker.”
The Gaza Employment Generation through NGOs Program was funded by USAID and implemented by IRD from January to September 2010.