Women of Gaza

by Tanya Habjouqa 

Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza City, October 2009, A girl tied up in a first aid course after "Operation cast lead" Israeli war on Gaza. The trauma, loss of life, and dead were so vast (according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) 926 civilians lost their lives) that women associations began teaching first aid courses to children in case of emergency and to help the children feel they had agency, as a coping mechanism to deal with the trauma.

Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza City, October 2009, A girl tied up in a first aid course after "Operation cast lead" Israeli war on Gaza. The trauma, loss of life, and dead were so vast (according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) 926 civilians lost their lives) that women associations began teaching first aid courses to children in case of emergency and to help the children feel they had agency, as a coping mechanism to deal with the trauma.

2009: Gaza is a difficult place for women. The siege not only affects the economy, but the most basic of dreams and space to simply be. 

Women of Gaza depicts a different side of Gaza. Despite the devastation, a community spirit and elegance prevails. Life continues, and so do the traditions and self-respect–a resistance to letting suffering be the standard definition.

Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza City, October 2009, In the Gaza City home of Dr Jamal Shareef, a literature professor at Al Azhar University, his 16-year-old niece (right) shows pictures of her fiancé. 

Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza City, October 2009, In the Gaza City home of Dr Jamal Shareef, a literature professor at Al Azhar University, his 16-year-old niece (right) shows pictures of her fiancé. 

Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza City, October 2009, A family in Gaza City enjoys a picnic on the beach, one of the few options left to most families in Gaza unable to escape the siege.

Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza City, October 2009, A family in Gaza City enjoys a picnic on the beach, one of the few options left to most families in Gaza unable to escape the siege.

Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza City, October 2009, A woman prays while on break from a sewing class organised, part of the Women's Charitable Society's 'economic empowerment for women' initiatives.

Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza City, October 2009, A woman prays while on break from a sewing class organised, part of the Women's Charitable Society's 'economic empowerment for women' initiatives.

Women are continuing to care for their families, strive for education, and pursue careers against the odds

How do the women of the Gaza Strip bring up their families and attempt to live normal lives? This work goes beyond the stereotypical depictions, exploring their lives as they work, rest, and seek moments of freedom wherever they can find it. 

 Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza, Gaza City, 18 October 2009

Tanya Habjouqa / NOOR
 Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza, Gaza City, 28 October 2009

In places like Gaza where the devastation is almost unimaginable, I am fascinated by the community spirit and elegance that prevails. Life continues, and so do the traditions and self-respect--a resistance to letting suffering be the standard definition. Women are continuing to care for their families, strive for education, and pursue careers. This is a work in progress, a look at the every day lives of women in Gaza.

Tanya Habjouqa / NOOR
 Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza, Gaza City, 5 November 2009

A few children's school bag with. On one is portrayed Barbies wearing a hijab.

Tanya Habjouqa / NOOR

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