“My dream is to have a source of income to cover my basic needs without the need to rely on my family or others but by relying on only myself,” Fatma Alqarra, a 25-year-old from Khan Younis in the Gaza strip, told me.

Last April I hired Fatma online via Nabbesh.com, an online work marketplace I co-founded with my Syrian partner, Rima Al Sheikh in 2012. I was looking for someone to translate a blog post and Fatma had the experience to do the job: she had been doing translation and content writing for a while and she delivered great work. Only later did I discover that her degree was actually in computer engineering — a field where she’d been unable to find a job living in Gaza. “This is the state of all students after graduation” she said.

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