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The scramble to earn a living in Gaza starts at school age thanks to Israel's cruel siege

8 14 6

The start of the new school year in the besieged Gaza Strip saw just under 300,000 students aged between six and 17 turn up for classes; more than 20,000 are attending school for the first time, often in overcrowded classrooms. Despite the difficult situation in Gaza and the repeated Israeli military offensives, Gaza children generally enjoy going to school.

However, there are hundreds who get up early every day, but do not go to school. They roam the streets looking for work in order to earn some money for their families. Mahmoud Al-Borsh, 13, is one of them. He leaves his house at 6am every day and doesn't get back until 6pm with not even enough money to buy the soap needed to wash his clothes.

"I get up as soon as I feel the sun in the sky, get ready for work and go out," he told me. "I do not always know where to go, but I start with the rubbish bags and bins in the area near my house." His job, such as it is, sees him trying to collect scrap metal and plastic. It is very difficult, and he works all day, often ending up with as little as 10 shekels ($3) in his pocket. It is also very dangerous, because the scrap metal could have been used to hold dangerous chemicals and hazardous liquids.

In the occupied territories, domestic rubbish is not disposed of in separate containers, with one for cans, one for plastic and cardboard, and one for perishable and other stuff. Everything goes into a nylon bag and put at the door to be collected by the cleaning workers. That's why dozens of youngsters like Mahmoud Al-Borsh leave home early, to check the bags before the cleaning team arrives. Many then follow the........

© Middle East Monitor

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