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Blind Palestinian student wins UN human rights competition

A blind student in the Gaza Strip has won a human rights competition organised in UNRWA schools in the territory, QudsNet reported on Tuesday. Yasmin Al-Najjar, 13, studies at a special UNRWA facility for blind children. The competition included 40 questions from the human rights textbooks taught in UNRWA schools; 65 students took part.

"My family and friends felt proud when we knew that I had won first prize," said Al-Najjar, who is a member of the Student Parliament for Human Rights in Gaza. "Many people encouraged me and I spent one full week studying and revising with the help of one of my teachers to be ready for the competition."

The teenager's teacher is Khadija Al-Masharawi. "Yasmin is a shy student," she revealed. "At the beginning, she hesitated. I encouraged her and trained her. Then, when she won, she felt proud and became more vivid and active."

Al-Najjar was not the only winner who is blind, QudsNet pointed out. Yasser Al-Arja, 13, and Mariam Abu-Shawish, 12, also won prizes in the same competition.

UNRWA teaches human rights to students at its schools in Gaza in order to reinforce their understanding of their own rights and those of other people. This has been criticised by many Palestinian families because it recognises Israel's right to exist in occupied Palestine. UNRWA students today are the grandchildren of Palestinians who were forced out of their homes by Zionist terrorist groups in 1948.

A human rights teacher told MEMO that UNRWA has decided to drop such lessons from the start of the next school year.

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