Majd Almashharawi and Rawan Abddllaht are finding ways to use the rubble and destruction of war to forge a future for their community.
The women create an inexpensive, environmentally friendly building material from the rubble in Gaza, giving the people an option, if not entirely a solution, for their construction woes.
People of Gaza, even if they could afford to, cannot buy construction material and build homes without Israel’s approval and permission.
Israel “fears” construction materials could be hijacked by Hamas and used for underground bunkers and makeshift rockets.
Over the years, thousands of buildings in the area have been reduced to rubble with very little resources and opportunities of construction.
In March 2015, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) reported that “…9,061 Palestine refugee houses have been considered totally destroyed and 5,066 have suffered severe, 4,085 major and 120,333 minor damages. Also, to date, the agency has only received funding to reconstruct 200 of the 9,061 houses totally destroyed.” The blockade has made timely reconstruction extremely difficult.
Under such dismaying circumstances, these women found a solution and created building blocks using the remains of the war itself.
They use recycled ashes to build bricks weighing half of the ones commonly used and costing 30% less. The duo named their bricks “Green Cake.”
Their bricks have been tested and shown encouraging results. “We can’t put our happiness into words. After a year and a half of tests, we have harvested the labor of our efforts,” they exclaimed.
Their brilliant invention won the 2016 Gaza Entrepreneur Challenge. The event’s focus was on entrepreneurship projects that contribute to enhancing living conditions in Gaza and discussed ways entrepreneurial ideas could contribute to a brighter future for Gaza by 2050.
The platform also provided an opportunity for the participants to have access to and network with Japanese investors and social entrepreneurs to further their efforts and inventions.
“This training was wonderful, we received new training ideas as well as skills on presenting our projects and innovations,” Almashharawi said.
They now hope to start a production line.