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Gaza City Rola Taha

Site Engineer
A Day in the life of CTG Staff
I feel I am a productive citizen; not only me but all engineers provide a better future for people.

I’ve worked as a Project Engineer on various projects including the construction of the Sheikh Hamad hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetics, finishing the specialised surgeries building at Al Shifa medical complex, and the construction of the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital. I was also part of the engineering team that worked on the construction of the Sheikh Ejleen wastewater pump station and the Sheikh Redwan stormwater pump station and pipeline projects. From the projects’ names, you can see how they reduce the severity of many key challenges in Gaza City. In Gaza, there are not enough hospitals, and as a result, connecting the existing hospitals was an essential step in creating better healthcare for Palestinians.

I have no words to express how grateful I am to have this opportunity to work with CTG in Gaza. From the supportive work environment to the learning opportunities with my colleagues and supervisors, to improving my skills through different training courses and workshops, and finally to working with international staff, this job cannot compare to my previous work experiences.

Helping people improve their quality of life has fuelled my interest in Civil Engineering since I was a teenager.

What drew me to this kind of work was the desire to not only practise my skills but learn new skills such as teamwork and responsibility. I feel I am a productive citizen; not only me, but all engineers provide a better future for people by being a part of the building of hospitals, schools, and the water and wastewater networks.

I wake up early in the morning to reach the site before the masons start working. This early-bird style lets me guide the workers on the construction site and check if they are applying the safety precautions in a proper way. Spending the entire day outside under the sun can be strenuous, but at the same time a joy because I enjoy putting what I studied at university into practical action and learning new aspects of engineering.

The biggest challenge I face in my work is the culture of the society and their inability to accept that a female engineer is responsible for workers and directing them. By normalizing female Site Engineers and spreading the culture of gender equality in the engineering sector in general, we can surely encourage the new generation of female engineers and their families and partners to accept more women working.

The other challenges I face are with regards to safety. We face heavy restrictions in terms of security and movements. If Palestinians decide to travel, they cannot just take their own passport and go to the airport directly (the only Palestinian airport was demolished in 2001). Traveling outside of the Gaza Strip, which in my opinion is the world’s largest prison, involves a lot of planning and can only be done via the Rafah crossing at the border with Egypt or going through the Erez crossing to fly from Jordan.

When I think of Gaza, I think about the challenges Palestinians face on a day-to-day basis. From the shortage of drinkable water to the catastrophic situation of the sewerage system. One of the biggest challenges I have faced is long nights with no electricity, which was particularly difficult when I had exams the next day.

I could claim that I have the best family in the world; they helped me become who I am today.

It’s a high-pressure environment, so I practise horse riding and yoga to reduce work stress. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends the most, watching movies or swimming in the sea. I could claim that I have the best family in the world; they helped me become who I am today. They supported me as much as they could and widened my limits to include more opportunities than I knew possible.

I am proud to be the daughter of an ideal mother and an ideal father who taught me all the values and principles to deal with people and situations wisely. My parents used to describe me as a responsible person and were always proud of my high marks at school. I still remember the day I got a high GPA at school and saw the joy in my parents’ eyes. But the journey has not been easy.

The biggest challenge I face in my work is the culture of the society and their inability to accept that a female engineer is responsible for workers and directing them.

After I got married and pregnant with my first child, I faced many health problems. Then I lost both of my parents very suddenly, and I experienced psychological problems from the shock. It was not easy for me to complete my education under challenging circumstances, especially with a newborn baby, but God gave me the strength to face these challenges and achieve the goal that my parents and I planned for.

Today, I hold a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and have worked as an engineer and a project coordinator with various relief projects in Gaza. Helping people improve their quality of life has fuelled my interest in Civil Engineering since I was a teenager. To this day I continue to develop myself, my skills and take advantage of any opportunity that helps me obtain new experiences.

Therefore, I dedicate my success to the spirit of my parents, and I am confident that if they were with me now, they would feel proud and happy about who I have become.