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Gazans with special needs liberated from economic dependency by local project

June 13, 2016 at 1:08 pm

In a multi-storey building, close to the Islamic University in Gaza, there are many groups of crafters specialising in various crafts. They form somewhat of a beehive, forming a strong-willed project for those with special needs.

Manal Hassna is a media officer for a project helping Gazans with special needs to integrate socially and economically in society by providing them with rehabilitation and professional training. Launched in 2012, the project has trained over 700 individuals with special needs in various academic and skilled fields, 400 of whom have been employed. It has also supported the establishment of nine technical workshops for people with special needs, allowing them to liberate themselves from their economic dependency.

Speaking to MEMO, Manal said that the project provides a number of specialisations, including carpentry, painting, upholstery, gift-wrapping, glass painting, engraving, computer use, producing aluminium products, embroidery, and mobile phone maintenance. She also noted that the project has recently begun to welcome those with mental disorders and those who are deaf.

One of the inspiring stories coming from this project is the story of 47-year-old Majeda Murad. She told MEMO her story, saying that she lost both of her legs during the Gaza war in 2008. She was a teacher for 15 years, but then she was unable to continue with her dream after her injury. As soon as the project was launched, with Turkish funding, she joined and said that she, along with many others, was given an amazing opportunity. She believes that this opportunity helps integrate people with special needs into society and enabled them to overcome their psychological hindrances.

Murad adds: “Although the project did not and will not change anything in terms of their disabilities, after long hours of training and practice, we have gained a skill and are now able to work in difficult specialisations.”

“Our hopes grew when our products started to be sold in the Palestinian market. That moment was a turning point for us, as we have achieved something that has reached the Palestinian market and inspired us to be even more creative,” she added.