Moaz Shawaf is a student in the ninth grade, who lives in the southern part of Gaza.
The 15-year-old teen contracted meningitis at a young age, leaving him deaf. The news came as a surprise to the whole family, as none of his five siblings have hearing problems. Moaz was only four when he started going to the PRCS center in Gaza. With his family and teachers’ support, he began to progress and improve as he got older. His bubbly personality caught the attention of his teachers. “He is active and he likes to befriend all people, even those older than him,” says the school director Maha Al-Ghandour.
New Soccer Pitch Delights Moaz and His Peers
With music and drums in the background, 12 team players in red shirts start the soccer game. Moaz beams with happiness when he explains, in sign language, how much he loves to be part of the game and the team.
On the new grass soccer pitch, Moaz and his classmates, along with coaches, play a high-energy game. “They are full of energy when they’re in an uplifting, open environment,” Maha points out.
With only a narrow, closed area for sports inside the compound, Moaz and his fellow students were not able to practice any of the games they enjoy. All activities were limited to certain types of sports that did not need large spaces. Now, the new grass pitch affords a space to play football and other activities. “Sports definitely enhances their abilities and skills as well as their overall wellbeing,” Maha explains.
Moaz’s talents and quick learning skills make him a popular teen among his classmates. Nothing seems to stop Moaz from pursuing his love of soccer and communicating with the world around him. He is active on social media and has an account on Facebook to communicate with a wide circle of friends. “When I finish school, I want to be a doctor and I hope one day to win a national soccer contest,” Moaz signs.
“Moaz always feels upbeat when talking about sports. He is so popular; he often teases his teachers by cheering for the opposing soccer team! However, he’s confident that his team will always win,” says Maha.
“Sports are great for relieving the stress of a long school day, and helps the children let go of their frustrations,” Maha adds.
Improvements to the PRCS Ground Floor Rehabilitation Center have advanced the Center’s ability to provide better vocational training, rehabilitation and remedial services to more than 330 persons with disabilities. Prior to the renovation, deteriorated sewage pipes forced people with disabilities to use bathrooms outside the building, and broken elevators limited access to upper floors. Under ANERA’s USAID-funded Palestinian Community Infrastructure and Development (PCID) project, rehabilitation and remodeling work have created a welcoming, hygienic and healthy space that accommodates the needs of people with disabilities in Gaza.