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With strength and will, Hossam Al-Qlazeen (17 years old) push his wheelchair to reach Peace Sport Club for Persons with Disability in order to achieve his dream and renew his ambition. He is a high school student who joined the club six months ago to practice basketball and learn its special movements and techniques. He has participated in many games and has achieved many successes.
He starts talking about the moment that turned his life upside down, “I was 7 years old when I had an accident which left me unable to move. After that my life was confined for a long time to school and home.” He added “I heard about a sports club for persons with disabilities, and I was encouraged by my family. I was thinking a lot, is it possible for me to practice sports? how? will this be an opportunity to get rid of routine and prove myself to society?”
He continued, “I joined the club which initially qualified me to be able to use the wheelchair of basketball, how to catch the ball and what are the rules of the game. I started my training with sequential steps. Then I was enthusiastic to the extent of coming to the club in additional days beside the days of training. I began to feel that the club is my second home and that I have another family.” With a smile of hope and challenge, he added “Now, I have the ability to play well and also have the courage to make press interviews and answer my friends’ questions about how to play on this chair. I start explaining to them about the game and how the chair of this sport works.”
Al-Qlazeen said “I have played many matches with the club, and we have achieved a great success. Right now, Peace Club for Persons with disabilities is participating in the basketball league. God willing, we will achieve a great success.”
According to official Palestinian statistics, the number of people with disabilities in the Gaza Strip in 2015 was about 43,642 persons, which means 2.4% of the total population of the Gaza Strip. The physical disability is the most common type of disability in Palestine.
For his part, the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Rajab Al-Sindawi emphasized on the importance and necessity of the existence of specialized clubs for people with disabilities. He added “the sports club goes beyond winning the matches. In fact, the club takes care of their bodies. Sports is a therapeutic tool and one of the important components of physiotherapy to restore fitness for people with disabilities.” He explained that all the employees in this club are persons with disabilities. They have been either exposed to accidents or war injuries or since their birth, so the role of the club is not limited to physical development, but it goes beyond that to include psychological, moral and mental development.
Al-Sindawi said “we all lost part not only of our body, but also part of our lives. We passed through the painful experience of anyone who has lost part of himself/ herself or lost the ability to practice his life in a natural way, so we are working hard to rehabilitate them for life.” He also explained “any person, especially in the Gaza Strip, is exposed at any moment to become disabled because of the wars and threats. We must encourage and develop this sport so that we can give a new hope to anyone who has lost it.”
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