On the 28th of March 2016, Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children (ASDC) conducted a symposium on the project entitled “Early Detection and Intervention for Children with Hearing Disabilities.” A one-year project (April 2015 – March 2016) implemented by Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children in partnership with Campaign for the Children of Palestine (CCP Japan) and generously funded by the Government of Japan. The project aimed to improve the quality of life of deaf and hearing impaired children in the Gaza Strip, their families, and communities.
The Symposium was held in ASDC main hall in Gaza City, with the presence of several Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and representatives of people with disabilities (PwDs).
The event was initiated by the Palestinian national anthem in Palestinian sign language presented by the deaf students of Atfaluna School.
Afterward, an opening speech was delivered by Mr. Naim Kabaja, ASDC Director, where he expressed his appreciation to the Government of Japan for all their efforts in supporting the development projects in Palestine in general. Mr. Kabaja also conveyed his gratitude to CCP Japan for all their efforts and commitment to support deaf children of ASDC over the years.
After that, Mr. Takeshi Okubo, the Japanese representative to the PA, delivered a speech in which he highlighted the significance of this valuable project which is aligned with the mission and vision of the Government of Japan.
Ms. Harumi Kawagoe, Program Manager at CCP Japan, gave a summary of the project. She also emphasized the strong partnership with ASDC over the years. Her speech was followed by a video message from Japan in which Professor Hajime Tachiiri from Ehime University praised the efforts made by ASDC in the field of early intervention. He also gave a brief explanation about the early detection and intervention experience in Japan.
After that, Dr. Ramadan Hussein Head of Audiology Clinics at ASDC, presented the activities of the project through which a total of 5,048 children received hearing screening tests and a total of 80 received early intervention services over the year.
Later on, two parents from the beneficiaries, Ms. Lina Hamdan and Mr. Jaber Mohamadeen shared with the attendees their experience with the project and the remarkable progress of their deaf children.
From his part, Dr Akihiro Seita, Head of Heath Program at UNRWA, expressed his deepest proudness of the achievements ASDC has made not only in the early intervention field but in other domains.
Dr. Bassam Abu Hamad, Public Health Consultant, shared with the participants the effects of Early Intervention Programs on the children’s general health in the Gaza Strip; he also underlined the experience of other developed countries in this field.
At the end of the symposium, the participants enjoyed a Dabkah dance performed by the deaf students of Atfaluna School.