Voices from Gaza: Silent Strength: Ibtisam's Resilience Amidst the Echoes of Gaza



"I face each day with determination, knowing that resilience is my greatest asset in this journey."

In the heart of Gaza, where the echoes of war reverberate through the shattered streets, is a tale of resilience, loneliness, and the unyielding spirit of a woman named Ibtisam. At 48 years old, Ibtisam lives with paraplegia, a condition that impairs her mobility and necessitates the use of a wheelchair. This has been a significant challenge during the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza, where roads have been destroyed by the airstrikes and travel in general is extremely dangerous.



On the fourth day of the war, Ibtisam fled her home in Bani Suheila, seeking refuge at the Red Crescent shelter in the Al Amal area of the Khan Yunis Governorate. The choice was a harrowing one, compelled by the escalating Israeli airstrikes that left her with no option but to flee. Complicating matters further, Ibtisam's mother is also a person with disability, and she uses a wheelchair user, prompting the family to seek refuge separately due to the considerable challenges posed by hosting two individuals with disabilities amid the turmoil of war.

"In wars, persons with disabilities, like my case, have no value; they are not even considered


 Her voice, laden with the weight of her experiences, unfolds a tale of struggle that transcends the phycological scars of conflict.

Initially providing a semblance of safety, seeking refuge in the shelter exposes the harsh reality of the war in Gaza, offering no true sanctuary. The facility is ill-equipped for individuals with disabilities like Ibtisam, as the toll of war strains its capacity, leaving it unable to meet specific needs. Tragically, for nearly a month, Ibtisam slept without a proper bed, a fundamental need unmet due to the shelter's post-war challenges.

Navigating the daily challenges imposed by the conflict, Ibtisam encounters moments that deepen her isolation. With the Red Crescent shelter unable to provide a bed in the last month, she seeks refuge in a stranger's family home. This compels her to use the husband's room, an ostensibly kind gesture that paradoxically heightens her sense of being an unwelcome burden on him.


Some of roads in southern Gaza have been ravaged by the war," she laments, her vulnerability exposed. "Before the war, my family used to assist me in acquiring the things I needed, but now I can't ask anyone. I feel so alone and left behind.


The devastation of the roads has rendered mobility with her wheelchair nearly impossible, confining Ibtisam within the limits of an unfamiliar and challenging environment.

Yet, amid the desolation, Ibtisam found a purpose. At the Red Crescent, Ibtisam dedicates herself to aiding in meal preparation for the hospital staff, trying to be productive, to contribute, and to find a sense of belonging. However, the support she offers stands in stark contrast with the isolation she feels within.



Though Ibtisam spends her nights in a shared hall at the shelter with very little privacy, it serves as a stark reminder of her solitude. The yearning to reunite with scattered family members, heightened by the loss of a loved one’s due to the war, inhabits her dreams. Communication barriers only deepen her sense of isolation, and Ibtisam confesses to often crying herself to sleep, longing for the embrace of her family and the comforting laughter of nieces and nephews.

"I have nowhere to go, no one to talk to," she whispers in a voice weighted with sadness.

In a world where the cacophony of conflict often drowns out the voices of the most vulnerable, Ibtisam's resilient story emerges as a powerful reminder that the suffering of people with disabilities is frequently overlooked amid the tumult of war. Despite the overwhelming challenges, Ibtisam's narrative stands as a testament to her strength, and in her own words, she reflects on the tenacity that helps her endure.

"I face each day with determination, knowing that resilience is my greatest asset in this journey," she shares, highlighting the positive outlook that sustains her. Amidst the shadows of conflict-ridden lands, Ibtisam's experiences sheds light on the silent struggles faced by countless others living in a similar situation. Through her story, resilience becomes not just a quality but a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards survival and strength in the face of adversity.