On Sunday, under the auspices of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) celebrated the graduation of the first group of rehabilitated Palestinian citizens who became disabled as a result of the Israeli war on Gaza.
The project is being supported by the Turkish government and implemented by the College of Community Service in the IUG.
The Turkish ambassador in Gaza, Shaker Ozcan Tronolan, attended the celebration with his wife. Tronolan delivered a speech on behalf of the Turkish Prime Minister in which he described the close relationship between the Turkish people and the Palestinians.
"We Turkish people learn about the Palestinian issue since we are you. We love the sons of Palestinians as much as our sons. When the Israeli bullets penetrate the hearts of Palestinian sons, it is as though they penetrated the hearts of our sons."
Tornoland said that all Turkish people are concerned with the Palestinian issue, the politicians and the public.
Expressing his happiness with the new graduates, Tronoland said that citizens with disabilities from the Israeli war deserve learning and holding certificates. "This helps them to be independent and not wait for charity from others," he said.
Hailing their creations during the time of the project, the ambassador said: "They can now be productive people."
On behalf of the IUG, the head of trustees', Jamal al-Khodari, expressed his thanks to the Turkish government and to all Turkish people. Al-Khodari said the project is now on the threshold of the second stage, which includes employing 400 disabled citizens. "This has been a great effort by the Turkish government to support the steadfastness of Palestinians," Al-Khodari said.
Meanwhile, the graduate Jameela al-Habbash delivered a speech on behalf of the first group of graduates. "We could not have dreamt to return back to life unless we were supported by the Turkish efforts," she said. "This country has a responsibility towards the oppressed here," she added. "Throughout this project, we have received excellent education, appropriate training and much needed psychological treatment."
According to the Union of Medical Relief Committees, the number of disabled Palestinians in Gaza is 70,000. The Israeli wars on Gaza in 2008/2009 and 2012 largely contributed to this number. In addition, most of them are suffering after shock trauma.
Some assistance projects supported by international donors, including the Turkish government, are being implemented to help them return to normal life.