Under the activities of “The Palestinian Consortium for Non-violence: towards a regional movement on Non-violence” project that seeks to disseminate the philosophy and culture of non-violence as a lifestyle, this episode comes as part of a series of radio station episodes aired to raise awareness of the Palestinian society on the rights of the marginalized people. This project is implemented by Pal-Think for Strategic Studies partnering FXB France which both work closely to make non-violence a culture adopted across Palestine.
Palestinian women have always proved to have a record of pride, resistance and determination against disability, injustice and violence. In this 13th episode of the radio program, spotlight is shed on women with disabilities who do sports and live the experience in spite of all overwhelming obstacles.
The guest of the episode, Sami Barhoum Deputy of Boards of Directors in Alasdiqaa Association for People with Disabilities, pointed out that giving opportunity for the disables is significant and sports is one of the forms to combat violence practiced against women. In addition, this event contributes in promoting civic engagement, rebalancing of thinking and wisely managing time, keeping in mind that this also helps in keeping individuals far away from violent practices.
Regarding the reality of women with disabilities practicing sports, Sawsan Al Khalili – Chairman of the Palestine Knights Club for Women with Disabilities, stated that the most important obstacle facing women with disabilities is the stereotypical society. There has to be continued effort to establish the concept that sports is a right for all and is guaranteed for everyone in society including women and girls with disabilities; they are not helpless, but society keeps on refusing the fact that women with disabilities are capable of making difference on the ground, indicating that sports has shaped a special meaning for women with disabilities because they feel free and integrated into the society.
The factors slowing the spread of the idea that women should do sports freely are the limited number of clubs and playgrounds for women with disabilities, the lack of adaptation of many sports facilities in the Gaza Strip, the financial deficits and paucity of sports equipment, the prevailing societal culture and the level of awareness of families with disabilities, and the lack of activation of laws to empower persons with disabilities of their rights, all of these The factors have denied many of them the right to exercise, as the two guests say.
Barhoum said that what prompted Alasdiqaa Association to propose the initiative of (With Us, Palestine Is Beautiful) for Pal-Think for Strategic Studies was the harmony between the vision and mission statement of Pal-Think and the broad goal of the initiative which all in all resulted in the implementation of the idea. Some of the sports activities carried out during the initiatives were basketball matches attended by family members, coordinators of the initiatives and journalists. Following the activities, participants were awarded for their engagement. Upon this, there were several hash-tags and highlighting posts on social media platforms advocating for the rights of people with disabilities.
Al-Khalili added that the initiative came at the appropriate time to keep girls with disabilities away from the negative effects, anxiety and psychological pressure caused by the corona pandemic and the state of emergency in the country, after being deprived of training and sports for four months due to quarantine and in the absence of establishing sports facilities for people with disabilities.