Moh's Story

Searching for Security in Gaza

Currently in Gaza, over 1.9 million people are displaced. That’s 85% of the population. The situation is dire, with severe overcrowding and disease spreading. Access to food, water and healthcare is very difficult. We are responding in Gaza, working with our new partner MAP.

In 2015, one of the families we supported was Mohammed Eid’s, known as Moh. He spent time living in a ShelterBox tent. Here he shares his experiences.


Moh was born in Saudia Arabia, but his father dreamt of returning to Gaza where he grew up to build the family a home. At the age of 6, Moh and his family moved to Rafah in Gaza, into the home his father built. He remembers it fondly.

“It was small and cozy, with only two bedrooms, but we loved it so much. We had a living room where we spent time together every evening. We would gather, drink tea, and eat fruit, as is the tradition in Mediterranean cultures. Sometimes, my mom would bake us a cake, which I loved to dunk in sweet tea – though my mom never liked that, she let me enjoy it.”


Moh in 1997, when returned to Gaza with his family. Their home was in Rafah.
Moh in 1997, when returned to Gaza with his family. Their home was in Rafah.


A ShelterBox tent erected among damaged buildings in Gaza in 2015

“In 2014, during one of the many rounds of conflict, our neighbourhood was heavily bombarded. The intensity of the airstrikes forced us to leave our home back then, and we never returned to it.”

It was after losing their home for a second time that Moh’s family received a tent from ShelterBox.

“I wondered how far that tent must have travelled before reaching us. We were grateful for that tent.”

Moh remembers the importance of having the ShelterBox tent as shelter. “A tent provides privacy for the family, and privacy is culturally important in the Middle East. The worst thing that can happen to people is to deprive them of that. That’s exactly what destroying a house does; people lose dignity before they even lose their lives, and that’s the worst form of punishment.”

His family worked hard to have their tent feel like home. “My mom would boil us some tea and make a type of baked bread called Mankosha… The aroma of the freshly baked Mankosha mingling with the fragrance of thyme would envelop the tent, creating a sense of warmth and safety. In those moments, despite the uncertainty and hardships, we found peace in family, food, and tradition.


Living in a tent was challenging at times, but Moh was grateful that the family had the tent when they needed it.

“I’m thankful for every time we had temporary shelter or a tent, even though it’s far from ideal and living in one can be incredibly difficult… Tents became a precious commodity. Thankfully, we had a tent when we needed it most, immediately after losing our house. It offered almost everything we needed within the first 24 hours following displacement. Along with the tent came mattresses, blankets, a first aid kit, and a food package. Honestly, all we needed immediately was a place to sleep.”

Later the family were able to move out of the tent into rented accommodation, although it was not an easy transition. “We would move in and out all the time. Sometimes we would live in tents for several days, weeks, or months. But once we got on the rent allowance scheme, we would be able to leave the tent. When you think about an emergency or crisis, it’s absolutely synonymous with chaos. There is no smooth transition from homelessness to tent housing and then to permanent housing. Things are just all over the place; people are constantly moving between temporary housing and tents. It’s just the nature of the situation.”

Tents became a very precious item in Gaza in 2015, due to the extent of the damage. With them, families had privacy and could create a more home like environment.


Moh attending the United Nations Economic and Social council youth forum, as a member of the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY). The event took place in the United Nations HQ in New York City in 2018

Moh currently lives in the USA, where he travelled in 2017 after being awarded the Rotary Peace Fellowship. He currently works for Rotary International, as a program officer supporting the peace centers program and peace fellows.

Moh’s family, still in Gaza, have had their house destroyed in an airstrike. “My family’s house back in Gaza was bombed on the third day of the war. The airstrike caused partial destruction, and my brother was injured. With the help of neighbours and some volunteers, my family managed to leave the half-collapsed house. My brother was hospitalised and thankfully survived after receiving medical care. Now, my family are temporarily staying with relatives in Rafah Camp, where hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people are seeking refuge as well.”


When possible, Moh has stayed in communication with his family. Through them he has learnt of the terrible situation faced by people in Gaza. “The nightmare of displacement and homelessness is haunting everyone there. The worst part about it now is that there are no relief organisations with a proper response to the scale of the crisis, and there are no temporary tents. Losing a house means literally sleeping on the street… I never thought that one day I will think back and realise that during the time when I had a tent to sleep in, I was extremely privileged and lucky, and that a day would come when a tent would be so valuable and rare… While a tent may seem like a simple item to some, it holds immense significance for a family in desperate need of shelter.”

Moh does not know what will happen to his family next but hopes that they and other people in Gaza will receive support and shelter. “I do know that no one should be deprived of their most basic human need. People need shelters during emergencies.”

Moh now lives in the USA, where he works for Rotary International. During the current crisis in Gaza he has kept in touch with his family who remain there.

Learn More About our Work in Gaza