Walaa Hammad has carved out a special niche for herself by repairing mobile phones from the comfort of her home. She offers her services to women in the conservative Palestinian enclave of Gaza who prefer female technicians to handle their phones, as they fear compromising their privacy and social media accounts.
With the support of ‘Amjaad for Community Creativity and Development,’ a non-governmental organization focused on empowering unemployed female graduates and assisting them in finding employment, Hammad established her business. Through workshops and other activities, the organization aims to create economic opportunities for women in the blockaded Gaza Strip, where unemployment rates are high, especially for women. Surprisingly, being a woman can sometimes work in their favor.
Hammad explained, “Women feel comfortable coming to me for mobile phone repairs because their privacy is respected. Even men approach me to fix their wives’ and sisters’ phones because they value their privacy and the security of their personal photos.”
The strict control of Gaza’s borders by Israel and Egypt, citing security concerns related to Hamas, the governing Islamist group in the region, has severely impacted the local economy. These restrictions have left many women, including Hammad, struggling to secure employment after completing their college education.
Highlighting the challenges faced by women in Gaza, the NGO that assisted Hammad initially planned to train ten women but was overwhelmed when around 1,600 women sought their support.
One of Hammad’s first customers was her neighbor, Wafaa Abu El-Hanoud.