Tayseer Hijawi, 32, has been volunteering for Palestine Red Crescent Society in Nablus branch since 2004.
“I joined the Red Crescent not because I am a disabled, but because I am a human being. I am a good person and a hard worker”, Tayseer says.
As a part of the Palestinian Special Olympics’ table tennis team, Tayseer, who has a Down syndrome, has took part in many international championships and won several medals – including a gold medal in Special Olympics Middle East North Africa Regional Games in Dubai in 2006.
“We started our own sports team with 12 students and Tayseer was one of the first students to participate”, says Ola Sa’ad Al Dine, the Headmistress of the Palestine Red Crescent Society’s Special Education School in Nablus.
Besides sports, the school also offers vocational training in carpentry and educational games in workshops run by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
“These activities improve their wellbeing and develop positive attitudes and behaviour. Crafts, such as weaving with hooks, helps also achieve visual-motor integration”, Ola Sa’ad Al Dine continues.
She stresses, that parents play crucial role in the life of their disabled children. Tayseer’s father Abdallah Al Hijawi hopes that all disabled children could get the same care and support his son has received.
“Tayseer’s condition is now stable and as a parent I wish that some day he’d be able to work in the family factory.”
This seems like a reachable goal, because Tayseer has learned to operate the machines he needs to in order to help out in running the family business.
Besides working, Tayseer now passes on the support he has received by volunteering in the school himself by conducting sports activities, art and drama activities twice a week and visiting elderly house.
Tayseer is one of the many disabled people in Palestine who has received support from the Red Crescent. Palestine Red Crescent Society has a long history in rehabilitation of disabled people.
All Palestine Red Crescent Society facilities are accessible for disabled people and the Palestine Red Crescent Society runs many activities for people with disabilities and arranges recreational sports camps.
Palestine Red Crescent Society operates 29 rehabilitation centers and therapeutic rehabilitation units that provide rehabilitation and ability development services for children who have mental disabilities, education for hearing-impaired students, rehabilitation for children with cerebral palsy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and hearing and speech rehabilitation.
Palestine Red Crescent Society also raise awareness about disabilities to change the attitudes towards disabled people and to better integrate them in the local communities and society.
“We need strength. I am a human being first and foremost”, says Tayseer.