Amputee Palestinians hold marathon in Gaza, calling for equal rights
GAZA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Some 30 amputee Palestinians on Thursday participated in a marathon in the Gaza Strip to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which falls on Dec. 3 annually.
With crutches, the participants, aged from 16 to 45, ran in the streets at the refugee camp of al-Nusairat in the central Gaza Strip ruled by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).
The event was organized by the Rehabilitation and Social Training Association (RSTA), a non-government organization, with the aim of focusing attention on the "right of marginalized people of the society," said Kamal Abu Shawish, director of the RSTA.
"Unfortunately, people with physical disabilities have been suffering from a lack of rights," Abu Shawish said.
The RSTA decided to revive the issue every year on this occasion to call on more people, including local officials, to help the disabled integrate into society.
Samir Ahmed, a Gaza-based participant who lost his right leg during an Israeli strike that hit his house in the Israeli military offensive in 2012, expressed his happiness to join the race.
"For long years, we (disabled people) have suffered from deliberate marginalization either by some local authorities or institutions," said the 38-year-old father of four.
"We really need to increase the community's awareness about our rights to help us to join the work in all sectors in the Strip," Ahmed said.
He added that most disabled people carry educational certifications and can work to make money, which would help them keep their families afloat rather than waiting for financial aid.