Gaza Girls

When Monique Jacques first travelled to Gaza, what stood out to her was not the barbed wire, the armed soldiers or the drones — it was “the strength, creativity and vibrancy of Palestinian girls and young women.” Despite the ongoing conflict with Israel and the restrictions placed on their movements, their lives are filled with “everyday moments of joy and hope.”

Monique returned to Gaza over the next five years, determined to capture an authentic look at Palestinian girls. “So often we see Gaza through a dimensional lens of violence and conflict,” Monique explains. “Stories about quieter moments like these are often overlooked, though they offer a powerful look into world unseen by many. ”

Monique shares photos and captions from her book, “Gaza Girls: Growing Up in the Gaza Strip.”


 For many Gazans, the sea is the only place they can be without being reminded of their isolation. 14-year-old surfer Sabah Abu Ghanem and her sister surf early in the morning outside of Gaza City. The sisters place first in many competitions inside the strip, but have never left the Gaza Strip to compete. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

For many Gazans, the sea is the only place they can be without being reminded of their isolation. 14-year-old surfer Sabah Abu Ghanem and her sister surf early in the morning outside of Gaza City. The sisters place first in many competitions inside the strip, but have never left the Gaza Strip to compete. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

 Yara and her brother waiting for their father to return with shawarma — an evening treat after a recent conflict ended. As Yara is only 7 years old, she still has a few more years to be a girl. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

Yara and her brother waiting for their father to return with shawarma — an evening treat after a recent conflict ended. As Yara is only 7 years old, she still has a few more years to be a girl. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

 Doaa takes a selfie at a cafe on the water in Gaza. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

Doaa takes a selfie at a cafe on the water in Gaza. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

 A building still smolders hours after a ceasefire is declared in downtown Gaza City. Each war brings massive destruction to the strip; only a fraction is rebuilt. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

A building still smolders hours after a ceasefire is declared in downtown Gaza City. Each war brings massive destruction to the strip; only a fraction is rebuilt. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

 Medical students from Islamic University on break in the Maternity Ward of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

Medical students from Islamic University on break in the Maternity Ward of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

 Shatha points to al-Majdal Asqalan, the ancient port city that her family is originally from and fled before the 1948 war. They were moved to Nuseirat camp in Gaza, where they still live today. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

Shatha points to al-Majdal Asqalan, the ancient port city that her family is originally from and fled before the 1948 war. They were moved to Nuseirat camp in Gaza, where they still live today. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

 Graduating class, Palestine University. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)

Graduating class, Palestine University. (Courtesy of Monique Jacques)


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About the Photographer

Monique Jaques is an Istanbul based photojournalist working in the Middle East and Africa. Her book, “Gaza Girls,” captures moments of joy and hope in the lives of Palestinian girls and young women.