Headline May 31, 2019/ '' 'GAZZA'S -CRIPPLING DEBT- GROOMS' ''



Gaza grooms, 'crippling debt' overshadows any type or even a strand of marital bliss, So with a heavy heart, I turn to narration.

Abyu Serdanah is among hundreds of young men who have turned to Gaza's small industry of wedding lenders for help, only to fall onto hard times because of crushing debt and lack of jobs.

Two years ago, Gaza resident Saleh Abu Serdanah, took out a small loan in order to get married and start a family.

These days, the 31-year-old construction worker is on the run, hiding from police in a tiny rental apartment and unable to repay the money he borrowed.

Abu Seranah is among hundreds of young men who have turned to Gaza's small industry of wedding lenders for help, only to fall onto hard times because of crushing debt and lack of jobs in the impoverished territory.

Many have been forced to renegotiate their debts, and others have gone into hiding. Some have even ended up in jail.

'' I have never been into a police station and have never made trouble. Now I'm like a fugitive crook,''  Abyu Serdanah said.

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

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

Over a decade ago, a number of wealthy people launched charities to help young couples to pay for their weddings and settle post-marriage debts.

The initiative was promoted through ceremonial mass weddings that thrived after Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after the Hamas militant group took power in 2007.

These charitable efforts, which still continue, paved the way for a portable private industry to emerge, offering more substantial packages that included things like bridal dresses, invitations, bedroom furniture and meals for guests.

Allured by the idea, Abu Seranah signed up for an offer of $2,500 through Farha Project, one of those companies, in 2017.

He acknowledged that he would never have been able to marry without Farha. The November 2017 wedding included a bachelor's party with a live band and a separate women's ceremony the following day.

The company threw in invitations, catering for 60  people and a suit and dress for the couple.

Abu Serdanah agreed to repay the money in monthly payments over two years, but managed to pay only for five months. Today, he regrets his decision

''I was committed to paying on time for a while, but things have changed and made me unable to,'' said Abu Serdanah, sitting on a mat outside the apartment he shares with his wife as a candle faintly lit the dark stairway.

'' There is no work, so were should I get the money from.''

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 dependent on food aid and social welfare.

The Sad Honor and reverence of this publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks the Agencies.

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

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