by Sanaa Kamal
GAZA, June 23 (Xinhua) -- The 12-year-old Mohammed Wishah hopes that one day he could leave the refugee camp where he was brought up, and start a new life far away from poverty.
Wishah lives with his eight-member family in the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza. His residence is an old and dilapidated house that was built by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
"It is not easy to live in an overcrowded camp all your life. No one can live a better future under the current circumstances," the boy told Xinhua while playing with his friends in one of the alleys of the camp.
In a bid to escape such an environment, he works very hard at school, hoping to complete his education and become a teacher.
"I have always heard my grandfather talking about what life used to be in the past, when it was quiet and stable," the boy said, hoping to live such a life one day.
Ibrahim Wishah, Ahmed's father, expressed his sadness because he was not able to improve the reality due to years of security, political and economic instability in the coastal enclave.
"Like the rest of the fathers in the world, we strive to provide a decent life for our children and help them build a promising future... but unfortunately, I failed despite my attempts for years," the 49-year-old father of six told Xinhua.
"I grew up as a refugee in this camp. The feeling of being alone and homeless hurts you so much... I don't want my children to live our miserable lives," he said.
The father believes that the fate of the refugees in the Palestinian camps can be changed through education.
"I think that education is the first step on the path of development, civilization and a promising future, so I encourage my children to pay attention to their education and complete it," he said.
The situation is not much different for Ahmed Balousha, a child who also lives in the Jabalia camp. He aspires to become an electronic engineer one day, so that he can improve the economic conditions of his family and help them to lead a stable life.
"We live here in a refugee camp where we do not have electricity, water... The conditions of the camp have not improved or changed, but the refugee numbers are increasing day by day," Balousha told Xinhua.
Rama Hasouna, another refugee from Gaza, shares the same vision.
As wars broke out in several Arab countries, the world is full of refugees, not only the Palestinians, but also Syrians, Yemenis, Libyans, and Tunisians, said the 14-year-old girl.
The number of Palestinian refugees stands at about 13.4 million people around the world, according to the latest report issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics on Sunday.
Around half of them reside in different areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and 28.4 percent live in 58 UNRWA official camps spreading out in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, West Bank, and Gaza, according to the statistics.
The UNRWA, which provides basic services to refugees, such as education, health, and food, has suffered in recent years from a severe financial crisis as a result of reduced financial support by donor countries.