Headline June 01, 2019/ '' 'GAZZA'S -WEDDING LENDERS- GAZEBOS ' ''



In this April 21, 2019 photo, Palestinian groom Yehiya Taleb, center, move a mirror, part of his wedding furniture,
 to his apartment in Shati refugee camp, Gaza City. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

THE WORLD STUDENTS SOCIETY stops and rises to pay homage and respects to the great residents of Gaza. See Ya all prepare.........

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The BLOCKADE aimed at weakening Hamas, has ravaged the economy. The skyrocketing unemployment rates, combined with foreign aid cuts and Hamas' mismangement, has left thousands of families dependents on food aid and social welfare.

WEDDING LENDERS have filled an important need in Gaza's conservative society, where young  men and women are typically expected to marry in their teens and or early 20s.

FACING a nearly 60 percent unemployment rate, many young Gazans men have been forced to put  off their dreams of marriage because they cannot afford it.

Economic sanctions, by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, ousted by Hamas in 2007, have worsened the situation.

The internationally recognised Palestinian Authority says its measures, which include salary cuts to tens of thousands of former public servants, are aimed at pressing the militant Hamas group in  ceding control.
Hamas, however, remains in firm control, even as the World Bank says Gaza's economy is in ''free fall''.

A plastere who earns 50-shekels, or about $15 a day, Abu Sardanah was certain that he would be able to manage the payments to Farha. 

BUT due to weak economy, there have been few workdays, and he was unable to pay back his debt.

Trying to save himself from prison, he asked the company to reduce his monthly installment by 50 percent, but its lawyers refused.

Eventually, a police summon was delivered to his family's home. He decided not to respond.

''I don't want to stall for time, but I really can't pay for now,'' he said. The Hamas run  Economy Ministry says at their peak, 20 such companies were registered at Gaza.

But their number has dropped to five as business has withered up. The Hamas-run prosecutor's office, the judiciary council and the police refused requests for people  jailed  for failing to pay their marriage debts, or even reveal their number.

But an official at Gaza's general prosecution department, speaking in condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said that as of last year, courts have investigated 3,000 cases.

This explains why the business is no longer thriving. Salama AI-Awadi ,manager of Farha Project,  says only 7 percent of his clients managed to pay the monthly installments fully this year and 40 percent could not pay back at all. The others pay less than the agreed amount.

''We saw with our eyes that the situation is hard, so we try all possible ways before resorting to the courts,'' AI-Awadi said, noting that his company has fallen into debt because of its customers struggles.

Unable to collect payments, Farha owes money to service providers like carpenters and caterers.

With economic recession in Gaza, the number of clients is also dwindling. In 2018, the average monthly number of grooms signing up for contracts at Farha was 20. The year before, it was 35.

''This year would be way less,'' AL-Awaidi said. ''I cancelled many contracts and and our plan for 2019 is to get by with the minimum. If it remains like this, I will have no-choice but to shut down.''

One of AI-Awadi's clients is 29 year-old Yehiya Taleb, whose four brothers, all married, believed it was problematic by Gaza's standards to reach that age and still be single.

Taleb got a job working as a waiter earning about $180 a month but that amount is not enough to cover wedding expenses.

Anxious to fulfill the wish of their  ailing mother, the brothers resorted to Farha Project and took out a $2,000 package.

After getting married early in May, Taleb and his wife now share a rental house in the Shati refugee camp with another brother's family. Afraid of ''failure,'' he is already stressed out how to repay the loan. He hopes to make ends meet with some help from his brothers.

''My salary can't cover my demands. With installments, you can cover a little part of them.'' he said.   

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.

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SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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