After obtaining a university degree in Arabic and Media Studies, Alaa Al-Masri struggled to find a job in Gaza. The now 26-year-old decided to create job opportunities in her family's back garden.
In 2015, she established a team which aimed to set up pioneering projects scratch under the slogan 'Challenge the siege and unleash the suppressed talents in the Gaza Strip'. There she decided to grow mushrooms as there was a shortage in the Gaza market.
Her project began in 2019 with oyster mushrooms, this was a success.
"In light of the high unemployment rates in the Gaza Strip, I thought of establishing my own business so that I could benefit from it, and the limited number of farmers who grow oyster mushrooms motivated me to start in this field," she tells MEMO.
"I prepared a 20-metre room in my house and bought special equipment for the project at my own expense, at first I faced many difficulties … I have difficulty in the marketing process sometimes because some people, unfortunately, do not prefer local produce," she explains.
Alaa hopes to expand her project to add new types of mushrooms such as shiitake, Chinese and button mushrooms.