UNDP Representative with the young participants in the winter camp organized in Gaza with support from the Government of Japan. © UNDP/PAPP - Shareef Sarhan

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”.

 

H.E. Takeshi Okubo, Japan Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs, and UNDP Special Representative raffle the names of the competing teams for Tokyo League 3 in Gaza. © UNDP/PAPP - Shareef Sarhan

 

During the camp activities, the participants had fruitful discussions on their daily challenges and the difficulties they have when trying to integrate into their communities. Following the discussions, the participants developed ten initiatives to help them overcome these challenges. During the ceremony, the three finalists that were selected through a competition presented their ideas which will be implemented on the ground in the near future.  

Mr Roberto Valent, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator highlighted that he was proud of the participants’ initiatives and activities. “We know that persons with disabilities are in many occasions marginalized. They need to be given the opportunity to lead a stronger role to further contribute to the community they live in. Thus, with the generous support of the Government of Japan and its people, we have implemented this initiative which will run for the next three months”, he added.

It is worth noting that the camp is part of a larger programme funded by the Government of Japan for the amount of USD 99,792 that aims at creating short-term alternative spaces for traumatized children and youth in Gaza.

 

For further information, please contact:

Ms Dania Darwish, Communications Specialist, Tel. +972-2-6268229 – e-mail: dania.darwish@undp.org or Shahd El-Swerki in Gaza at Tel. +972-8-2822167 – e-mail: shahd.el-swerki@undp.org. For more information on UNDP/PAPP see http://www.ps.undp.org.

 

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

 

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