Ghada Karim: A Solar Technician Engineer

Apr 15, 2021

A text message transformed the life of a young woman from Gaza, affecting her thoughts, ambitions, and hopes despite all the obstacles and criticisms that she had experienced. She was constantly asked a lot of questions: How can a girl work with screws and screwdrivers? Do you think you’re a man to be working on rooftops? Young men cannot find work, and yet you think that doors will be open for you?''

Twenty-year-old Ghada was constantly bombarded with these kinds of questions that were frustrating her ambitions and career choices. One day, she received a letter that changed her life forever; she was chosen to join the first-ever group of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees’ (UNRWA) solar energy program in the Gaza Strip with support from the German government. She was to become the first female solar energy technician in Gaza. She couldn’t believe her eyes.  

Ghada said: “At the beginning, I was about 70% into the program. As the training went on, I began to develop a passion for solar energy. I received so much support from my parents and family, as well as from the engineers who taught us well and provided us with all the knowledge needed to succeed in this field.”

Ghada aspires to leave the Gaza Strip one day and become an ambassador for alternative energy efforts. She also hopes to visit international organizations to further grow her experience in this field.

While attending UNRWA’s solar training, she pursued her undergraduate studies in Business Administration. Ghada believes that expanding one’s knowledge in various specialties results in achieving greater dreams despite the difficult circumstances and conditions. She has proved as much by completing the program with high scores. 

Ghada hopes to be a role model for every girl who strives to pursue her dreams despite all the difficulties she may face. “We live in a technological era. There is no difference between men and women in this field, in both knowledge and creativity. What matters at the end of the day is being productive and achieving high-quality work.”

“There's a saying that has always been with me throughout my life: ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world’. This difficult and demanding work requires a lot of effort to balance your life between studying and working from 8am to 7pm. However, improving oneself comes with a lot of effort,” she added.

Ghada, who is known to have a light-hearted personality and strong social relationships despite her young age, is not afraid of change, and she does not let anything stand in the way of fulfilling her dreams. This is especially the case when living in a besieged place like Gaza, where hope is hard to find, except for those who possess the willingness and strength to make something out of nothing.

With a smile on her face, Ghada said: “At the end of a long day, I would be longing to go home where my mother makes my favorite dish. The smell of her cooking brings me comfort and gives me the strength to go through another day.”

About the Author

Ameera Harouda is a freelance journalist in Gaza. She works closely with international journalists reporting from Gaza. She has worked with many world-renowned media agencies, including Al Jazeera international TV, The Washington Post, CNN, The Guardian, TRT World, Der Spiegel, and many more. She is very passionate about giving voice to the voiceless through storytelling and photography and promoting Palestinian creative Palestinian youth.