You are here:


Published on


My Name Is Mariam: Gaza Through My Lens

Mariam* has been working with us to document the deteriorating situation in Gaza. While living through the horrors of war herself, she dares to lift the stories of other Palestinian women. 

As a displaced Palestinian woman, I do not know how to live anymore. Days have become incomprehensibly painful to the human mind. Life is fear, stress, worry, and mixed feelings – no smiles or laughs from the heart.

We are dominated by tears. I am like the rest of the women, in pain due to this horrible war. I lost my sister and her daughter. Our homes were destroyed, and we left without anything, only our IDs.   

I was displaced more than one time. Every time was more painful than the other.

Woman photographed by Mariam in the West Bank.

Women's features, faces and bodies have changed. They are not the same as they were before the war.

Woman collecting food.

When I ask [women] about their needs, they stay silent. They say there is nothing that they don't need.

After my sister was killed, I decided to go back to work, to tell the stories of the suffering of women. I have been working for 12 years and my purpose is to be the voice of women. 

Women are obligated to find food for their children. One woman swore to me that she hadn't put any food in her mouth in 3 days so that she can find and save bits of food for her little children.

I leave my shelter every day to visit the schools, tents, and hospitals – anywhere with displaced people. I leave my parents and daughter and my husband behind.
My husband lives in another area. Him and I meet after 12 at the beach in Deir El Balah so that I can transfer my content to my employers. We steal time to be together.  

Women left their homes without clothing or covers, without their personal needs, without their money. Even if they had money, they have spent it by now.

Bathrooms when available are very dirty and they're not segregated by gender. When it comes to periods, everything women need is unavailable. When sanitary pads are found, they are very expensive. One of the women once started bleeding, she was embarrassed and started crying because everyone saw her period blood.

One of the women said she hadn't showered in a whole month; she and her kids have lice and skin diseases due to poor hygiene. They barely have something to wear, they barely have food for themselves and their children. Their simple needs disappeared.

In the evening, I go back feeling torn from all the pain that I hear during the day – the sadness that covers the feelings of the displaced people. I speak to them about their pain.

Since the beginning of the war, my grey hair has increased significantly due to what I am experiencing.

Women have lost their emotions, they lost their feelings because they're mainly conquered by sadness, pain, abandonment, grief. Women suffer all that loss; they feel defeated, their tears speak faster than words.

Even at war [women] have the bigger part of work. They have no shelter, no support. Some lost their families, their husbands. Some husbands are still missing without any news of them.

All the conversations and words cannot express what we are living. However, I focus on my deep purpose to tell their stories. That’s what I wish to pursue, to get their messages to the world. Hopefully, one day I will be able to represent the Palestinian women and tell their stories in international courts, be their support and make up to all what they are living.

*For security reasons, we are not using her real name. 


As the situation in Gaza deteriorates, women and their families are in dire need of life-saving essentials. Help provide winter clothes, blankets, hot meals and trauma-informed counselling.