People With Disabilities In Gaza Mark Int’l Day Of Disabled Persons

by Sanaa Kamal

GAZA, Palestine, Dec 2 (NNN-XINHUA) – Dozens of people with disabilities, on Sunday, participated in a wheelchair marathon, in the city of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, as the world observes the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Samir Owaida, a father of five, who suffers from polio, won the wheelchair marathon. He said, he is proud to win in most races that were held in the Gaza Strip.

The 45-year old said, he wants to show people, disabled people can be active in their community, and they can achieve their goals in different aspects of life.

“We are here to send our message to the community that, disabled people exist in life, and they can continue their life like other people,” Owaida said.

Na’eim al-Khateeb, 52, did not win but says, he did his best in the competition.

“This race gives us power to be the best by competing with the others. You should be, even if you are a disabled man,” he said.

He also said, they are facing obstacles, such as the old wheelchairs that they are using, and the lack of enough funds to get new ones.

“We need the international community to look at us as victims of war, poverty and unemployment,” al-Khateeb said.

The competition was organised by a non-government institution, known as Emaar for Development and Rehabilitation.

Emad Esleem, director of Emaar for Development and Rehabilitation said, there are 47,000 people with disabilities, who live in the Gaza Strip, accounting for 2.4 percent of the total local residents.– NNN-XINHUA