“I used to memorise everything. I started with the details of my home, then all the roads surrounding it. Blind from birth, I’m only able to see the shadows of things, so memorising the space outside helps me to move freely and independently.

In 2014, the war took away our neighbourhood, and that’s when everything I’d memorised disappeared. The routes I once perfected now lead me to nowhere, and I know that I will have to memorise it all again one day. I am going to wait a while before I do though, in case it disappears again.

The war also damaged my home, which is where I live with my five brothers, my five sisters, my grandmother, my sister-in-law, her three children and my parents. A very big family, I know!

My mother calls me the biggest grace of her life, but I know she says that to all her children. My dad is my best friend, who has helped me endlessly throughout my life. That’s why I give them everything I earn. We have used my earnings to try to restore what we could in our home.

I am the only one working in my family, and being able to help in this way is probably the biggest achievement of my life.

I am proud of gaining such a good education, too, because it is through my education that I can see. I graduated from the Islamic University of Gaza as a teacher in Islamic Studies, I completed training courses in many different subjects, I passed a master’s degree in Quranic Studies and I memorised the whole Quran.

I can’t believe I achieved all this! It has been so hard at times: I would use to stay in my room with a heavy feeling that there was nothing to fight for. But with every breath, I continued. And I will always continue to stand strong.”

Nesma is a beneficiary of Interpal’s Job Creation Programme and Bus Outreach Programme.