Friday, 17 June 2016

Bucking Gaza’s desperate situation through social media


Sabreen al-Sununu, 38, Walaa al-Ifranji, 26, and Asmaa Nassar, aged 21, are exceptions to a depressing Gaza rule. In spite of the world’s highest unemployment rate, including a youth unemployment rate at over 60 percent, these three have all, with some success, turned to online platforms to earn money.

Sabreen, a mother of four, started what is in effect her own online restaurant, the name of which loosely translates to A Unique Flavor, in order to help supplement the income of her husband Mustafa, 49, a public servant, and help pay university fees for their sons.

The family lost their home in the 2014 Israeli military assault on Gaza, when the al-Nada Towers in which their northern Beit Hanoun apartment was located was bombed.

“I don’t have a university certificate,” Sabreen told The Electronic Intifada, explaining how she got started. “Cooking is what I can do to help my family.”

Among her relatives, Sabreen always had a reputation, not only for the tastiest food, but the most attractive presentation. So when she started out, family and neighbors were her first customers.

With their encouragement, said Sabreen, and the online savviness of her sons Mahmoud, 20, and Ahmad, 18, who shared pictures of her food among their friends, who in turn shared with theirs, the number of Sabreen’s Instagram followers rose to 3,500 in the first four months. more

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