A.K. is a 26-year-old daily-wage worker who spoke to Al Mezan about his struggle to secure his family's basic needs under COVID-19 lockdown:
“I graduated from the faculty of Journalism and Media four years ago. I’m married and a father of one child. I live in Beach refugee camp in Gaza and I work in a candy factory. My income hardly covers my small family’s basic needs. Sometimes my parents provide us with some of our daily needs such as cooking oil, sugar and flour, which eases my financial burden a bit; my parents have always supported me.
Back in March 2020, schools and kindergartens in Gaza were closed as a precautionary measure against the potential spread of COVID-19 in the community. Our work, %80 of which caters to schools and kindergartens, came to a halt and I lost my job. To make up the lost income, I started selling hot drinks from a street cart, however, its financial return was too little, possibly due to the hot summer weather driving down the demand. When schools and kindergartens opened for the new academic year at the beginning of August, I got my job back at the candy factory. Soon after, on 24 August 2020, the Ministry of Health announced discovering COVID-19 cases in the wider community which prompted a full lockdown this time.
I lost my main source of income once more and I cannot cover my family’s basic needs. Considering that I reside in one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Gaza, I’ve been staying at home since the start of the lockdown and only go out when it’s absolutely necessary. I hope the government bodies would take steps to support daily-wage laborers”.