The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

The one and the many

This article was published more than two years ago. Some information may no longer be accurate.

Many of us will spend most of our life working to build our homes. Imagine it is destroyed. You stand to lose much more than just four walls. You lose the things you once treasured the most. The structures and routines you once held.The place you came together with your family. The place you raised your children. The place where you felt most free.

UNOPS has helped 160 families reconstruct their homes. Some of the families we worked with were asked to describe something they lost during the conflict. These items along with their stories are represented below.

Watch the videos to find out the story behind each object.

  • Taj Al Deen Abed


    Taj Al Deen is a father of six children. He wanted to be a journalist when he was a child and used to work as a taxi driver. For Taj Al Deen, home is a place where he can bring up his children safely.

    “I hope I can provide my children protection, a good education and a decent future.”

  • Zafaf Al Akhras


    Zafaf has worked as a social activist and book collector for many years. For Zafaf, home is a place where the family can come together and enjoy a meal.

    “There is a saying I like very much – ‘Love for your brother what you love for yourself’.”

  • Nesma Abed


    Nesma is a mother of six children. For Nesma, home is a place of stability. It is a place where her children can play and learn in safety.

    “A mother is like a candle that burns to give light to her children.”

500,000 people in Gaza were displaced in the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.

More than 160,000 houses were damaged, of which 11,000 houses were totally destroyed

  • Abdulhameed Al Farra


    Abdulhameed worked in construction for many years and with his savings he built his family home.

    “I spent my whole life working to build my house. In the blink of an eye, it was gone.”

  • Mos'ad Al Smairi


    Many photos were taken at Mos’ad’s wedding. For Mos’ad, an Arabic teacher, it’s very sad not to be able to relive these memories by looking at the photo album.

    “Home is everything to me. It witnesses all the sweet and hard times.”

  • Barakat Al Farra


    Barakat is studying for an MA in Crisis and Disaster Management. He chose this field because he wants to help improve the conditions in which people live in Gaza.

    “I want to help improve the conditions in which we live in Gaza.”

The house reconstruction project provided support to the most vulnerable to establish and protect the rights of those who were internally displaced.

  • Ashraf Al Akhras


    Ashraf worked abroad for many years before returning to Gaza after the 2014 war to be with his family. He dreams of rebuilding the family library.

    “My favourite book at the moment is ‘Talk less, say more’. It helps you understand the best way to talk to the people you love.”

  • Suad Al Farra


    Suad stopped education after the fifth grade, but it has always been her dream to see her children go on to receive higher education. For Suad, her phone was important because it enabled her to stay in touch with friends and family who live far away.

    “Because of the war in 1976 I didn’t further my education. We were afraid because the school was far.”

  • Sharif Al Akhras


    Sharif is a farmer and teacher of agriculture. Ping pong was Sharif’s favourite sport. It was a work out for his mind and body.

    “Loss takes on two forms – physical and emotional.”

Beyond Infrastructure

Explore further