Farming has been a way of life in Omar's family for generations. When he inherited his family's land, Omar knew that survival depended on having a reliable source of water to grow the crops of olives, dates and citrus fruit needed to support his wife and four children. Over the past five years the local water supply began to dry up and his access trickled down to only two days a week. Omar watched helplessly as his livelihood began to wither away with his grove of 150 water-starved trees. The once fertile farmland that had been in his family for so many years was destined to become a wasteland.
Gaza's diminishing supply of fresh water brought on by a deteriorating water and sanitation system is threatening the ability to grow food and the well-being of the 1.7 million people who live there in isolation.
IOCC is helping to ease the hardships endured by more than 1,300 farming families like Omar's who are receiving practical training to learn how to improve their current farming practices and increase the amount of food they need to produce to sustain their families. IOCC provided Omar with assistance in digging and lining a water catchment that serves as a reservoir, fencing it and installing a pump and irrigation system. With daily access to water, Omar's grove produces enough cash crops to support the family and to fulfill a lifelong dream – to send his daughter to college and towards a more fruitful future.