Zinat Hmaidya: Helping bereaved women in Gaza


Zinat Hmaidya. Photo: UN Women/Eunjin Jeong

My name is Zinat Hmaidya. I live in Eastern Shajayia, East of Gaza with five daughters and three sons. My son, Yousef, passed away during the conflict between Israel and Gaza in 2014.

After my son died, I isolated myself from everything. I felt like my life had stopped. However, I finally decided to seek help from a women’s organization based in Gaza which provided support for bereaved women. I participated in their self-help network where a group of women who experienced bereavement supported each other, which helped me slowly get back to life. I felt the importance of my existence in those sessions as I was able to express myself and help others do the same.

Now I am a stronger woman. After my condition improved, I received a training on how to provide support to other bereaved women fighting grief and depression. I have become well known in my community and women come to talk to me. I became friends to a lot of women. I feel special because I have the experience and the knowledge to help them.