Monday, August 4

"Getting rid of them?"

That what it feels like, "being gotten rid of", says Aida, in her late thirties, mother of five.

She left school when she was 10 and got married at age 13. Her mum died soon after. She had 5 children, the youngest of them 5 years old.

"I never learned anything, i don't know how to read nor write. That's why i want my daughter to be a good student, i'll do anything so she'll finish school. See how she reads and writes? Have you seen her school report? She's a good student!"
Aida looks at 13 year old Zeinab, just back from the community swimming pool. Hair still wet, reading a library book while munching a piece of bread. Later on Zeinab will go to a local grocery store where she cleans, a summer job. She receives less than the legal minimum wage, but is happy to be able to help out.

Aida is worried. She lost the legal fight for her flat and as of September 20th she will have nowhere to live.
She submitted a request for rent subsidy and received as answer that she'll receive 700 NIS monthly. Her income stands at 2200 NIS. Rent for a modest 2 bedroom flat in Jaffa stands today at at least 3000 NIS a month.

Aida doesn't know what to do. She has not yet told her younger kids they have to move. What can she tell them? That they will move out into the streets?
Her 5 year old son suffers from severe asthma and hardly went to kindergarden this year. She has to stay with him, in order to care for him. How can she work? She started two job this year but each time they told her to go, after she had to leave early in order to care for her young son.

Aida is desperate. But no one seems to care. When she tells her story to her social worker, she's met with understanding and sympathy, but there is no solution in sight. Aida's on the waiting list for social housing. She may be there for many years to come, as there is a severe shortage and the list is very long.
Rent subsidy is supposed to help her, but the cuts have been severe and the rent has gone up. She has been looking around and around, but there are no flats she can afford.

As she says: "they simply try to get rid of me, where can i go? "

I don't know what to answer her.

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