In conservative Gaza, a woman finds rare job niche by repairing phones


Gaza (Reuters) – Walaa Hammad has found a niche repairing mobile phones from her home, offering services to other women in the conservative Palestinian enclave of Gaza who fear allowing male technicians access to their photos and social media accounts.

Hammad set up her business with the help of ‘Amjaad for Community Creativity and Development’, a non-governmental organisation that aims through workshops and other activities to empower unemployed female graduates and help them to find jobs

Economic opportunities in the blockaded Gaza Strip, where half the population is unemployed, are hard to come by, especially for women. But sometimes, being a woman can prove an advantage.

“There is privacy for women to come and repair their mobile phones. Even men can come and ask me to fix the phones of their wives and sisters because they fear for their privacy and the photos,” said Hammad.

Israel maintains tight control of Gaza’s land and sea borders, citing security concerns linked to Hamas, the Islamist group which controls the coastal territory. Egypt also restricts movement in and out of Gaza on its border.

Those restrictions have devastated Gaza’s economy and left many of its women, like Hammad, struggling to find work after graduating from college.

Highlighting the challenge facing Gazan women, the NGO that helped Hammad said it had initially offered to train 10 women and was shocked when some 1,600 women applied for help.

Hammad’s neighbour, Wafaa Abu El-Hanoud, was among her first customers.

“You can’t be sure a man wouldn’t open the phone, see the pictures and chat. But from one woman to another, it is safer.”

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