20 February 2010

Try running a little business in a medieval siege

The Dove and Dolphin decided to make loans of 1,500 USD to help small businesses off the ground - a small way of helping 50 per cent unemployment in males. The difficulties are explained - by our Nihad Taha.

''We have financed 5 projects; all were before the bombardment and invasion of Gaza. Three of the beneficiaries were prompt with most payments until the Gaza 'war' and afterwards. The other two beneficiaries were poor in paying the monthly payments from the first.

The three successful project details:

1. The laundry business

It was the first project. He has paid most monthly payments, but sometimes he could not afford the 55 USD because he is responsible for all his family. When he is in arrears, we call him and he pays one or two payments at one time.

I can say that he is keen and that he has paid most payments until now. There is no problem with him.

2. The donkey cart

At first he was did well, but during the 'war' he was injured and his health was very poor. His donkey was killed during the 'war'. He could not pay the Dove and Dolphin and he asked if we could help by canceling his debts to us. However, he gets some shekels by using his brother's donkey sometimes.

He is successful man, and can find solutions.

3. The taxi car

It is a very successful project. He has paid most payments until now. There is no problem with him.

The two failed projects:

4. The cosmetics shop

He was very hopeful and rented a small shop in Jabalia camp market. At first he succeeded but during the months after the 'war' the trade died. The income was very small. I visited him many times. He had to close the shop because he couldn't pay the monthly rent. He is an unlucky man; he tried selling clothes but that failed too. The economy of Gaza has been even worse since the bombardment and invasion. This was the main reason for the failure of his, and a lot of other businesses.

5. The hairdressing shop

He failed from the beginning. I visited him at the start. He rented a nice shop in a good area, but the rent was very big and he couldn't continue. I told him the rent was too big but he was optimistic. He was bad with his repayments; he paid some months but not others. Now he is at home.

We live in exceptional conditions. I face a great problem with NATUF, our partner, when trying to get dues. Because we are charities, all look to us for relief. We are in a most complex prison.''

Comment from DSH. Loans to 50,000 small businesses are needed, not 5.

Photo - 'Tents again - 61 years after el nakba February 2009'

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