Voices from Gaza: Women at work, the Balah Falestin plant
June 2017 saw the tenth anniversary of the Israeli-imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip which has resulted in economic collapse in Gaza and a sharp drop in the standard of living there. Unemployment rates in Gaza are among the highest in the world, with an overall rate of 46.6% in 2017. The situation is far worse among women and young adults. Balah Falestin, a date-processing plant, was established in Gaza in 2016 as part of a financial aid program for women. The plant, funded by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), employs women who are out of work or come from low-income families. The 41 women who work there are paid a salary and receive a portion of the profits. B’Tselem field researcher Khaled al-‘Azayzeh visited the facility in December 2017 and spoke with some of the women working there.