Cash helps people to build dignified shelters

Mohammed and his baby at home. Photo: Ma'an

oPt | 2023 | CBPF

West Bank, Al-Mirkez village. Mohammad was tending his sheep in January 2022 when his life turned upside down. Some of the animals were straying – but as he ran after them to guide them back, he tripped and slipped on an unexploded mine.

He doesn’t remember anything after that. Over a week later, he woke up in the hospital in extreme pain. His hand was missing. Recovery was difficult, and he became depressed. As he tells it, “I didn’t only lose a hand, but also my will to return to normal life, my interest to do anything at all.”

Al Mirkez is in Area C, the largest section of the West Bank. People in the area face a high risk of injury due to unexploded ordnance.

Determined to stay on their family land, Mohammad, his wife and small child, and his parents lived in a natural cave on their land, modifying it to make a simple home. Many neighbouring families have taken a similar decision, so that they can continue a way of life many families have led for generations. Without modern facilities, they live there and look after their animals.

With the support of the oPt Humanitarian Fund, Palestinian organization Ma’an and International NGO Action Against Hunger worked to help community members rehabilitate the Caves of Maasafer Yatta to make their shelters more comfortable.

The communities were living under the threat of imminent forcible transfer. This cash project was a last resort – and a temporary shelter solution – but an opportunity for the people to stay on their land, as they preferred, and live with dignity.

Some 72 caves in nine communities were rehabilitated. People received cash to invest in repairs and household supplies. Households were also able to access information on their rights and on the potential risks of cave rehabilitation.

Mohammed opted to use the funds to rehabilitate a cave that he had been using for his animals into a small family dwelling. He used the money to make a cozy and safe home for himself, his wife, and their young son – near his parents, but no longer all having to share a small space.

For Mohammed, the new home means more than shelter: it marks a transition for him from the dark days of recovery from his injury and a new start for himself and his young family.

More information on the oPT Humanitarian Fund:

The oPt HF continues to raise funds to support partners via the public CrisisRelief campaign: Help the people of Gaza • (