In a closing ceremony, Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children (ASDC) celebrated the accomplishment of the first phase of the project entitled “Income Generating Program for Deaf Youth in the Gaza Strip” (Atfaluna Restaurant). The event was held at ASDC main hall in Gaza City, with the participation of representatives from several rehabilitation and human rights organizations, professionals, and representatives of people with disabilities.
The event was initiated by the national anthem in Palestinian sign language presented by Atfaluna School deaf students, followed by a speech of Mr. Sharhabeel Al Zae’em, ASDC Chairman, in which he referred to the significant impact of the income generating programs for people with disabilities. After that, a presentation has been displayed to highlight ASDC main programs and services. Mr. Hashem Ghazal, representative of deaf persons in the Gaza Strip, expressed his sincere thanks to ASDC and Drosos Foundation for providing the deaf youth with the needed skills to enter the job market and get self-employment opportunities, allowing them to have a positive impact on their communities. During the event, the attendees enjoyed watching a short video on the different stages of Atfaluna Restaurant project and Dabkah dance performed by the deaf students of Atfaluna School.
Worth mentioning that Atfaluna Restaurant project aimed toward socio-economic empowerment of deaf youth in the Gaza Strip through employability skills and job placement to create an environment where they can be valued and respected.
From his part, Naim Kabaja, ASDC Director, clarified that Atfaluna Restaurant is a presentable and successful model for the employment of deaf persons in particular and persons with disabilities in general. This project was able to change the community attitude toward people with disabilities in Gaza and promote their abilities in the business sector.
With unemployment in the Gaza Strip reaching alarmingly high levels; ASDC is making a notable progress in providing deaf youth with job placements. In 2014, more than 100 deaf youth received apprenticeship opportunities of whom 45 obtained permanent jobs.