Palestinians Benefiting from Caritas-Jerusalem Credit Program

Aid Allowed Peter Ziad to Stay in Ramallah

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ROME, JUNE 6, 2002 ( Amid Mideast strife, Caritas-Jerusalem has responded to the plight of Palestinians with a program of microcredits that has already benefited 300 families.

One of the beneficiaries was Peter Ziad, a young Palestinian engineer who lives in Ramallah with his parents, two brothers and two sisters. They are a Catholic family, lifelong residents of the region.

Ziad, 27, was concerned about the fact he still lived with his parents, although he was engaged. He knew he would not be able to marry until he found a good job and a place to live.

After finishing his studies, Ziad started his own business and was successful, despite the region´s economic crisis. His business could not withstand Ramallah´s invasion by Israeli troops, however.

His parent´s house was damaged and his two cars destroyed. In one of the cars he kept his engineering equipment, which he valued at about $10,000. His business premises were also destroyed.

Then Ziad heard about Caritas´ credit program from a friend. He gathered pictures of his destroyed vehicles, tools, office and home, and discovered that there were new employment opportunities in his profession in Ramallah and other areas. Caritas provided a loan for him to rebuild his life and work.

Many young, trained Palestinians know that they can find well-paid technical employment in areas far from their native land. Ziad, however, is among those who do not wish to leave their native land.

«What I wish is to have the opportunity to stand on my feet again and start to work,» he said. «Only in this way will I be able to get married in Ramallah and create a family in the same place where my parents raised me.»

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