Children’s fashion show takes the runway in Gaza
Awaida’s dress received enthusiastic applause from the audience. The latter, part of a community that is considered religious and attached to conservative traditions and norms, returned the young girl’s kisses.
At the Al-Mathaf Hotel & Cultural House in northwest Gaza City — the luxurious and expensive hotel that hosted the event — the atmosphere was quite different from that in the besieged Gaza Strip. Applause, whistles and laughter filled the air, encouraging a fashion show that seemed far from the culture and traditions of Gaza’s inhabitants.
The show, the second of its kind, was attended by about 200 people, mainly the participating children’s parents and relatives, in addition to some sponsors and donors.
Mohammad Awaida, Tala’s father, told Al-Monitor that his child “loves to participate in celebrations for children. Thanks to her family’s encouragement, she could participate [in this event].”
He indicated that the purpose behind allowing his child to participate in the fashion show “was to make her happy and save her from the nightmare she experienced in 2014 due to the July-August Israeli war on Gaza that lasted for 51 days.”
Khawla al-Atrash is the mother of Saad, 5, who was also a participant in the show. “Oppression and fear gripped our children in the past year due to the Israeli war on Gaza and the subsequent restrictions and shutdown of crossings and [the children’s] inability to travel outside Gaza to spend some leisure time. All this prompted me to enroll Saad in the fashion show,” said Atrash.
“I encouraged him to participate, and I even showed him some video excerpts so that he could pick up the moves and take part. He welcomed the idea, and I started preparing him for the day of the show,” she added.
The show included several performances, including one by clowns and another by Qanun (string instrument) players. The event was sponsored by Yazegi Group and Speed Click and covered by the local media.
“The fashion show day was completely different from the prevalent situation in Gaza. During the three hours my husband, children and I spent watching it, we felt liberated from the state of depression that had overwhelmed us, just like most of Gaza’s inhabitants. We embraced a feeling of joy mingled with hope. Despite the blockade and successive wars, Gaza still had a spot of sunshine and vivacity,” said Atrash.
Gaza’s inhabitants are living under strict limitations and tough economic conditions due to the blockade that Israel has imposed for eight years. Poverty and unemployment have broken records.
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