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Gaza woman creates iconic handmade decorations for Ramadan

“I wait for Ramadan like a little kid,” craftswoman from Gaza, Hanan al-Madhoon said from her living room, surrounded by handmade colorful lanterns and figurines she crafted with the help of her daughters.

The 36-year-old mother of three said she is inspired by the iconic Ramadan decorations traditionally manufactured in Egypt and decided to produce and sell them locally to provide her family with a source of income.

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Madhoon said her husband lost his job at wedding halls due to the closures imposed since last year amid the spread of the coronavirus in the Gaza strip.

Last year, Madhoon sold only 20 percent of the decorations she crafted, a drop she attributed to the measures imposed in 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

This year, she hopes to increase her sales by 70 percent, but fears new preventive measures during the month of Ramadan could be imposed should the number of infections rise ahead of the fasting month.

Lanterns, known in Arabic as “Fawanees,” originated in Egypt and were usually imported into Gaza from Egypt and China, but some Gazans like Madhoon, started to make them locally.

The Gaza strip, measuring 375 square km (145 square miles), is home to around two million Palestinians.

It has been for years under an Israeli blockade, which Gazans said didn’t only cripple their economy, but also undermined the development of health facilities.

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