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The Palestinian young woman, Abeer Al-Horkali, confirmed that she dreamed of living a normal childhood like the rest of the children, pointing that she lived her childhood in hospitals and operating rooms and moved between doctors, so that they can treat the congenital anomaly she was born with. She explained that despite her family’s attempts and more than fourteen surgeries, she did not get rid of her disability.
Al-Horkali, 22 years old, explained in an interview with Palestine Today that she was born with a congenital anomaly in the spinal cord, causing her a congenital disability. She added, “My childhood was very difficult, and I dreamed of playing like the rest of the children, but my disability did not prevent me from living my life the way I chose. I received my primary education in a private school for people with disabilities. Then I moved to Al-Shuja’iyya Girls School where I completed my preparatory education.”
She continued, “My first year at Al-Shuja’iyya School was very difficult because of the way the students look at me. They were afraid of dealing with me, and I suffered from educational setbacks at school. However, I managed to change the students’ look and became friends with many of them. After that I completed my secondary education.”
Abeer pointed out that she is currently studying Multimedia at Gaza Community College. She hopes to finish her studies and get a job of her own, so she can support herself and her family, who does not wait a moment to meet any of her requirements.
She considered the most difficult moment she had experienced when she was trying to vacate her house in the recent Israeli aggression against Gaza. She added, “After all my family came out, I thought my parents had left me, but my father came back to help me and took me out of the house on my electric chair. I went out alone and was targeted by a missile. The chair was collapsed, and I lost consciousness until they found me among the dead bodies that they thought I was one of them. I was taken to the hospital, and I was injured in my left foot.”
She proceeded to say, “The days of Israeli aggression against Gaza were very difficult. I did not have any means of help. My mother carried me from the school where we escaped, to the hospital to change my wound dressing. I stayed at Al-Zaitoun school in downtown Gaza. In fact, words could not describe those days.”
Abeer has many skills that many of fit people do not have. She is a first class athlete. She has participated in a number of sports championships for people with special needs, including marathon, javelin throw, and shot put. She has won various prizes. She is also a member of Peace Sport Club for Persons with Disability. She goes to the club three times a week for training.
She revealed that she is distinguished by her ability of using design programs, especially Photoshop, as well as her skills in journalism, acting, writing and reciting poetry, writing theatrical scenarios and playing some theatrical roles. She pointed out that her last artistic participation was in an operetta which was about the situation of Palestinian people during the recent Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip.
She is good at manual embroidery and sewing machine which she uses to sew her clothes or her sisters’ clothes. She is also a youth activist. She always participates in activities. She is always in solidarity with the prisoners and participates in the weekly pause of the prisoners’ families in front of the Red Cross headquarters.
Abeer highlighted that she speaks Turkish after taking several courses. She is also an active member of “I Am Human” team, a group of young people with special needs and fit people who participated in a number of events, most notably “No Limits of Life.”
She hopes to get into the field of media and to become successful in that field, chiefly because she is considered as the official spokesperson for people with special needs in Gaza due to her strong and educated personality. She also speaks on the behalf of people with disabilities in the most of the events that are organized for them.
About the difficulties she faces, Abeer said, “The first difficulty is the society’s negative perception of people with disabilities, which is based on compassion rather than respect or appreciation, as well as the lack of interest of governmental and private institutions for people with special needs.
Abeer called for the society to change its perception from compassion to respect and appreciation, as well as the necessity to increase the attention of governmental and private institutions for people with special needs. People with disabilities also appeal for persons who are in charge of reconstruction Gaza to take into account the presence of a group of people with special needs who have the right to have their special roads and corridors that help them enter the public places.
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