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Building a Stronger Community

The Rawya Al-Shawa Cultural Center Initiative

By Israa Yasin

East Gaza is known for its fertile agricultural lands. However, property rights are frequently denied to widows, divorced women, and female-headed families. Despite efforts by individuals to assert their rights, progress has been sluggish due to fear and a lack of legal knowledge. To address this issue, Gaza Culture and Development Group (GCDG) has proposed that training on human rights and property rights for women be included in the budget for Rawya Al-Shawa Cultural Center. The center serves the needs of the people of east Gaza as a social and economic incubator for culture, entertainment, the arts, and employment.

Such sessions were held in November 2022, led by professional lawyers from Sawaysa, a program offered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and qualified psychologists from the Aisha Association for the Protection of Mothers and Children. They provided legal and psychological support to the community, particularly to women who have been victims of gender-based violence, covering topics such as women-owned property, housing, and land rights, as well as how to file complaints with the police and public prosecution. In addition, participants received referral information in cases that required additional support and assistance.

According to Hussein Murtaja, the executive director of GCDG, the purpose of this initiative was to promote positive social mobility, reduce disparities and inequities, and foster a sense of community engagement among its members. It also served as a model for the integration of community members with national institutions and international initiatives aiming to combat social fragmentation and facilitate the emergence of actions and initiatives that can be strengthened over time.

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