Gaza’s Atfaluna School Leaves No Child Behind

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As a group of children sit around a library table in Gaza City, the librarian starts to tell a story.

“When the olive harvest season finally arrived…”

“I was excited to start picking the olives,” adds one of the children.

The story continues from child to child. When it’s over, they put it together and the oral story becomes a physical book kept on the shelf for everyone to read.

This is an example of the regular library activities at the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children. The only difference is that the class gathers deaf and hearing children in an inclusive environment.

Through inclusive activities, I aim to create a sense of acceptance rather than exclusion of deaf children

The librarian herself, Hekmat, is proof of Atfaluna’s commitment to encouraging the community to shift attitudes toward education. Hekmat is deaf and a member of the Palestinian Children Libraries Network, which was established by the Tamer Institute for Community Education. She actively organizes storytelling activities and film animation classes to help both hearing and deaf children write and perform their own stories. She also engages their family members, so the children can always count on a warm audience.

The Atfaluna School brings together deaf and hearing children to create an inclusive learning environment.

The Atfaluna School brings together deaf and hearing children to create an inclusive learning environment.

According to Hekmat, these inclusive library activities have had valuable effects on the children and their families. It’s now evident that inclusive education can be a desirable option for families with deaf children.

“Through inclusive activities, I aim to create a sense of acceptance rather than exclusion of deaf children in schools and in the wider social community,” says Hekmat. “Inclusive education in Gaza is not far from being a reality!”

The Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children is an Anera partner in Gaza. For more information, visit their website at www.atfaluna.net.

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