100 Extraordinary people: 4 Extraordinary stories

100 Extraordinary people: 4 Extraordinary stories

Fayroz at work

Our Vocational Program

Al Fakhoora, in collaboration with Islamic Relief Palestine (IRPAL) and the University College of Applied Science (UCAS), have launched a unique vocational program where one hundred students have completed 120 hours of training in eight different courses.

This program also provides managerial training to students enabling them to develop business plans in preparation for the second phase which provides 50 students with grants to set up their own businesses.

Find out more about
our Vocational Program »

100 Extraordinary people: 4 Extraordinary stories

In its continuing support to education and its promotion in Gaza, Al Fakhoora partnered with Islamic Relief Palestine and the University College of Applied Sciences to provide a unique vocational program to marginalized youth in Gaza. The program is designed to provide a unique integration opportunity for youth suffering from some sort of disability, whereby 20 per cent of the enrolled students suffer from some form of disability. The program also contains a unique employment phase for the students after the initial training, either by guaranteeing employment in the related field, or by providing a grant to set up a business. This vocational training has provided the students with a life changing experience. Here, four students share their stories

Meet our student's (find out more by clicking below)

1. Nahla Shamalakh, 25, Tailor

Nahla Shamalakh, 25, Tailor
Nahla a new set of skills and a guaranteed employment opportunity

2. Fayroz Radie, 31, Chef

Fayroz Radie, 31, Chef
Fayroz challenged her physical disability and never surrendered

3. Hayfa Naeem, 29, Media ...

Hayfa Naeem, 29, Media Assistant
Hayfa began her career working in the field of rehabilitation

4. Muhammad Elkahlout, 27, ...

Muhammad Elkahlout, 27, Web designer
Paralyzed in the 2003 Intifada, Muhammad has a passion for media

1. Nahla Shamalakh, 25, Tailor

Nahla at work

Disability and how to overcome

“My sisters and I were all born facing difficulty in movement. My disability is basically a result of inherited disability and my aunt was also born disabled. When I was a child I was hit by a car which complicated my situation and made walking even more difficult.”

“I try my best at adapting to my situation. I haven’t been sitting at home doing nothing. I studied elementary education in college and I have friends. Thankfully, I can move, see, listen and speak with others. I have a craft which is sewing; I make nice stuff which many people can’t make.”

“When I was a child I was hit by a car which complicated my situation and made walking even more difficult.”

Family and community support

I see an appreciative smile on the faces of people when they look at my work. My family supports and encourages me to do more. My neighbours like seeing my new hand-made embroidery. I am glad that more people will see my work, and it will be shown in an exhibition here in Gaza.

Nahla demonstrating some of her creations

Introducing Nahla

My name Nahla Shamalakh, I live in Shaikh Ejlien area, in Gaza City with 6 siblings and my parents in one home. Two sisters are disabled like me and my father is unemployed. During the war in 2009, our land was demolished and all the trees, that we used to support ourselves from, were uprooted. I have one brother who supports the family and he tries to fulfill our very basic needs of food and clothing.

Enrollment in the training courses / feeling

I have a diploma in elementary education but opportunity to get a job in education is limited in our community because there is high unemployment. I had a temporary job in the past, but I had been jobless for many months. It was so boring!

I got a call from my college telling me that I had been nominated to be enrolled in a training programme. Then, I discovered it was training and employment for youth empowerment. You can’t imagine how excited I was to return to a social life again, meet others and communicate and learn. At home with electricity cut for long hours, I feel frustrated, but having training and getting a job is something important for me and my life.

Nahla is working for the next six months in a local society that supports women and encourages them to make wonderful handmade embroidery. She has made many beautiful pieces.

“You can’t imagine how excited I was to return to a social life again, meet others and communicate and learn. At home with electricity cut for long hours, I feel frustrated, but having training and getting a job is something important for me and my life.”

Opportunities and future

“I need to help my family, because our economic situation is not good. I also want to help my father who supported me and let me learn. So having a long-term job, or opening my own business is important for me. Fakhoora gave me this opportunity, and I feel that I am achieving some of my dreams. Thanks to all of those who let me back into the community.”

 

2. Fayroz Radie, 31, Chef

Fayroz’ Story

I am Fayroz from Beit Lahia, from Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. I studied Social rehabilitation at the University College of Applied Sciences and my results were always very good. In the past, I haven’t had many opportunities, because of my case, but I have volunteered doing social rehabilitation, where I used to visit homes and help people suffering from various disabilities.
I have five family members. My father works in the municipality of Beit Lahia, and I have one brother who is unemployed.

“when I get involved in the community through a programme like the Al Fakhoora one, I feel better as I see others facing challenges like me, then I thank God that my situation is not worse than this”

Family and community support

I have a physical disability and I challenged it and never surrendered. My family encouraged me to overcome and involve myself in the community. They supported me to go and be open. My family accepted my enrollment in the Al Fakhoora programme, because it is clearly very useful. They are happy for me and I can see it in their eyes.

Opportunities and future

Now, I have a lot of skill making many types of food such as pizza, biscuits, various meals and sweets. My hope was to open a small centre for rehabilitation, but now, after getting involved in food making, I think I am going to change my plans, and maybe in the future open a shop for pastries and food. The programme gave us the choice of a six month employment opportunity or  assistance to establish our own project. I chose employment, because it is easier for me than venturing in a new project as my town is full of people who have food shops.

Fayroz at work - preparing pizza for a busy lunch

Disability and how to overcome

I have a problem with my nerves which affects my appearance, way of speaking and movement. This Problem really affects me psychologically. I have had many difficult experiences because of my case, but when I get involved in the community through a programme like the Al Fakhoora one, I feel better as I see others facing challenges like me, then I thank God that my situation is not worse than this, at least I can express myself.

Enrollment in the training courses / feeling

“My main major is rehabilitation which I like. At the same time, I like cooking and making delicious food. One day, the phone rang and I answered. I was told that I had been nominated for a youth empowerment programme. I was so happy. It was the first time to get a call for such a project; we used to look for jobs, trainings and opportunities. This time it came by itself!”
“The timing of this opportunity was perfect for me because. I was at home and feeling lonely. Now I am doing something useful in my life. Also, I wanted some money to support myself and save some for medical treatment in the near future inshAllah.”

“The timing of this opportunity was perfect for me because. I was at home and feeling lonely. Now I am doing something useful in my life.”

Fayroz putting her new skills to work

3. Hayfa Naeem, 29, Media Assistant

Hayfa gathers material for her latest task

Meet Hayfa

I am Hayfa Naeem, from Beit Hanon and I suffer from Albinism. I live with 23 family members in one building. I have nine brothers and two sisters. Some of them are working and some are not. At college, I got my diploma in Social Rehabilitation and worked for one year in the rehabilitation of handicapped people, we did this job through home visits.

Hayfa gathers material for her latest task


“I am breaking the ice, speaking with people, attending my training and communicating with many new people. The Al Fakhoora programme in Gaza, has
played a big part in
improving my life and
raising my morale.”

Family and community support

I don't feel I’m suffering, and I am very confident. The support of my family and neighbours, and the trust they have in me, make me so eager to work and help the community. I think I have some skills that a lot of people don’t have. Here and now, this opportunity has proven this.

Disability and how to overcome

Albinism is an inherited problem. I have an Albino brother who is suffering like me. The biggest challenge for me is sight. I can’t see well; and in daylight, I can’t see at all. This problem makes my life different from others, so since my childhood I had to enter specific centers to help people with my case. I am getting used to it, but I don’t like when children ask me why my eyes look like this.”

Enrollment in the training courses / feeling

I was at home when the phone rang, and I was told I had been enrolled in a youth empowerment programme. It was very good news for me, as I was frustrated because I had tried to work in many places, but it was difficult for me.

Now, I am working in Jablia Rehabilitation Centre. I’ve been here for more than a week and will work for six months. I help the centre in various media tasks such as preparing content for a brochure, conducting and analyzing surveys with the handicapped. In few days, I will help facilitate awareness sessions for women in disability related issues. I feel so happy at my new work and the team here is so nice and cooperative.

Opportunities and future

“In the past I used to get high marks, and I am proud of this and of being able to involve myself in the community despite difficulties. I am breaking the ice, speaking with people, attending my training and communicating with many new people. The Al Fakhoora programme in Gaza, has played a big part in improving my life and raising my morale.”

“I hope to continue my education in the field of teaching children.”

4. Muhammad Elkahlout, 27, Web designer

Muhammad at work

Disability and how to overcome

“Outside of my home, I use walkers and at home I use a wheelchair. The only thing that keeps my morale high is my friends. Every evening I see my friends and I love them all. They have helped me overcome my situation.”

“At the same time, I used to attend training courses in media. Training introduced me to more people. My only problem has been practice. I really love being involved in media work.”

Enrollment in the training courses / feeling

When I found out about my enrollment in the Al Fakhoora vocational training for youth empowerment, I thought was going to be like all my previous training courses. From the first session, I was happy to see that more than 50% of the programme is practical training and work. I continued with the courses and here I am at my first job!

I work as a web designer and I will help with other media tasks for the charity I am working with. People here are very friendly and I feel comfortable.

“During the 2003 Intifada,
I was injured and paralyzed.
I didn't surrender and
continued to learn and
study. I got married in 2007,
and now I have a boy and a
girl. I have never worked
before, but I receive a small
salary, which is given to
injured people by the
government. It is helping me
survive.”

Muhammad’s story

“My name is Muhammad Elkahlout, from Jabalia Refugee Camp, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. During the 2003 Intifada, I was injured and paralyzed. I didn't surrender and continued to learn and study. I got married in 2007, and now I have a boy and a girl. I have never worked before, but I receive a small salary, which is given to injured people by the government. It is helping me survive.”
“At college, I studied web design but I like all fields of media such as editing, writing and producing. Before becoming paralyzed, I played many types of sports. I especially like swimming and football, but unfortunately my situation stopped me from participating in my favorite sports.

Muhammad working on a new design for a client

Family and community support

“I’d like to feel that I am adding something to this life. Sitting at home and being isolated like so many handicapped people in our community does not help me feel good. “

“Family and neighbours akways encourage me to join the media, as they have heard me speaking on behalf of injured people. I was a spokesperson for many radios and TV stations speaking about the suffering of the Palestinians, especially the injured. They know me; I can do well in this field.”

Opportunities and future

I have taken the most important step now by getting involved in this programme and in media work through web design. My dream in the future is to attend training in producing abroad, for example with Al Jazeera media training centre, and then work at a Palestinian radio station as a presenter. I hope there will be a group training for Palestinians with disabilities there. I feel this is my most exciting field of work.

I’d also like to keep on speaking on behalf of injured people, because no one other than those who have the experience of disability can express and speak on our behalf.