On June 20, Heba Alsaidi ‘14 and Iyad Hmidat ‘15 organized an activity for 47 children with disabilities for a late celebration of Global Youth Service Day. Ten alumni also volunteered at the activity and engaged with the children.
The event was held at the Al Hayat School for Special Education and Rehabilitation in Bani Suhaila, Khanyounis, Gaza Strip. The school is a private school which offers support for a number of disabilities and learning difficulties.
The first part of the event was a coloring session where each child was given a storybook to color as they liked. This was recommended by the school’s teachers as it is a mentally and physically stimulating activity. The alumni got to know the children and helped them color in their books.
The second part of the event was led by a frequent collaborator with the school. He played songs for the children on his keyboard, sang, and taught the kids how to play the keyboard. The children were divided into two groups for this activity. One group participated in the music activity, while the other group had their faces painted by the alumni, before switching so all the kids could participate in both aspects.
The third part of the activity was another physically stimulating activity in which the children played with playdough and created different shapes using shape cutters.
The alumni organized the event to create a fun space for the children. At the same time, the activities were carefully designed to suit the various disabilities that the children have. Children with learning difficulties were encouraged to take to the stage and sing along during the music lesson, while children with physical disabilities were encouraged to focus on physical activities such as coloring and playdough. The activities served as a therapeutic tool for the children to strengthen their senses and improve their social skills.
Heba Alsaidi (YES 2013-2014, Gaza, placed by CIEE in Lake Stevens, WA)
Iyad Hmidat (YES 2014-2015, Gaza, placed by PAX in Westerville, OH)