Gaza, 29 January 2019 - Aiming at empowering youth and persons with disabilities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Japan, in partnership with the Palestinian Olympic Committee and Palestine Football Association, celebrated the end of the Winter Camp for Persons with Disabilities and the launching of Tokyo League 3 for youth under 18.
The winter camp was organized as part of an initiative to support persons with disabilities in the Gaza Strip, while the Tokyo League was launched for the third consecutive year as part of the Tamkeen 2 - Emergency Response to Palestinian Youth through Sport Initiative project. Around 100 young men and women have participated in the winter camp, while another 1000 youth are expected to join the Tokyo League 3 in Gaza.
His Excellency Mr Takeshi Okubo, Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs, stressing upon the importance of the initiative, introduced the official statistics that there are almost 255,000 persons with special needs in Palestine, of whom 127,000 are in Gaza and that the number is increasing annually due to the continued clashes. The 100 participants in the winter camp enhanced their skills in sports, arts, as well as communications with others. The Ambassador added that "I can see the power and hope in your eyes despite all the difficulties facing Gaza. I am sure that you have all learned how to face challenges and overcome them through the camp activities. Japan is committed to help Palestinian youth improve their standard of living".
The participation of 100 persons with disabilities in the winter camp activities has enhanced their skills in sports, arts, in addition to having fruitful discussions around their challenges. The participants, aging between 18 – 23, participated in the ten-day camp held in Al Aqsa University in Khan Younis.
During the ceremony, Dr Assaad Al Majdlawi Deputy Head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee thanked the Government of Japan and UNDP for organizing such a camp. “Participants were eager to be part of these activities. For many years persons with disabilities have not been involved in camps that provide productive results. Now we hope that similar camps will be organized soon again”.