Gaza children searching for food to keep families alive

In certain places at certain times, just staying alive is something for a boy to be proud of – let alone going out every day to find the food that keeps your family from starving.

Every morning, Mohammed Zo’rab, 11, goes out into the southern Gaza city of Rafah on a mission.

He takes a big plastic bowl and heads to schools that have become refugee centres, and to makeshift camps on the roadside where people suffer like his own family but might still find something to feed the child of strangers.

Mohammed also goes to hospitals where the wounded arrive at all hours, and anywhere else where there might be a pot boiling over an open fire.

“When I go back to my family with this food, they get happy and we all eat together,” he says.

“Sometimes I go empty handed and I feel sad.”

Mohammed is the eldest of four children and lives with his mother, father and his siblings in a flimsy shelter made of plastic and tarpaulin.

His father, Khaled, roams around Rafah looking for odd jobs to raise five shekels (about $1.38; £1.08) to buy diapers for their two-month-old daughter, Howaida.

Mohammed is one of thousands of children who have become primary food gatherers for their families.

“When the line is crowded and there are almost 100 people in front of me, I sneak between people,” he says, proud of his skill at navigating large crowds without getting into fights.

Back at home, he hands the bowl of baked beans to his mother, Samar, who distributes the food to the other children. She is gaunt and barely eats herself.

“I have cancer in my bones,” she reveals. “I am 31-years-old but when you see me you think I’m 60. I can’t walk.

“If I walk, I get very tired. All my body hurts and I need treatment and nutrition.”

Source: BBC News

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