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The Institutional Category
First Place (shared equally): Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children- Gaza

Since its establishment, Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children has excelled in providing services for the deaf who live below the poverty line in the Gaza Strip and it offers various educational and psychological programs to enable the deaf to engage in society.

Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children has championed the belief that the deaf can play a role in building society and the state; their engagement in society is a need and priority. Atfaluna has committed itself to supporting this Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children- Gaza group in different spheres of life and has appointed deaf individuals to its staff and helped deaf children and adults to obtain education, rehabilitation and vocational training opportunities. Considerable efforts have been exerted to provide programs for this group and Atfaluna has become the main provider of different services and programs in most of the centers and institutions working with the deaf. 

Atfaluna has brought about tangible achievements in support of the deaf in the Gaza Strip, particularly following the launch of its largest campaign in 2011 in cooperation with six specialized societies. The campaign included many different activities and publications to raise awareness and enhance support for people with special needs in the Gaza Strip.

This campaign’s successes include winning approval from the Ministry of Education to open a high school for the deaf, the hiring of deaf individuals in several institutions and local companies, and the adoption of sign language on signs at the Rafah border crossing and in institutions and service bodies to facilitate communication. In addition, Atfaluna takes into consideration initiatives by its employees. Many programs were initiated from the ideas and creations of its employees, such as vocational training programs and artisanal production on a global basis.

A variety of initiatives have been implemented to create job opportunities for the deaf and to enable their deprived families to engage in the local community and live with dignity.

First Place (shared equally): Blind Charitable Society- Hebron

Blind Charitable Society (BCS) in Hebron is keen to be the beacon of hope for the blind. Since its establishment in 1980, BCS concentrated on serving the blind and partially blind people by providing them with the required rehabilitation programs and health and educational services in order to drive hope in this life and enable them to adapt to their society while facing such difficult conditions.

BCS undertook the responsibility to set a comprehensive care program for this group in the society, including social and health care and rehabilitation in different fields. Therefore, BCS takes care of the blind through meeting their moral needs and ensuring the physical requirements for them, particularly providing the latest technology support such as Brill system and building their capacities and skills. Based on that, BCS aims at increasing the academic and educational level of blind students to enable them to positively be engaged in the society.

BCS takes care of 52 students who are either totally or partially blind where it provides accommodation commute in addition to the rehabilitation programs for this target group. BCS also exerted great effort to provide the required services to female blinds who wish to continue their university and graduate studies education. It also takes care of blind children and fulfils all their needs.

BCS continued developing its services and programs to realize its goals, enable the blind and engage them in the society. Therefore, it established the Primary Blind School in 1996 which educates children until seventh grade.

 It also opened a department in 2006 to attend to children in preschool in order to provide their academic needs to rehabilitate them for school and enable them to engage with their peers.

BCS improved the life of the blind through many training programs for graduates from all Palestinian universities such as providing Brill system for them. In addition to that, it communicated with different organizations and bodies targeting people with special needs in order to continue to benefit the blind.

 

In order to realize its mission and humanitarian goals, BCS is bearing in mind to establish a department for kinesthetic and psychological guidance, open vocational education department, establish a health center to provide medical services for the blind and open new branches in different governorates in Hebron.

Second Place: Sareyyet Ramallah-First Ramallah Group- Ramallah

The foundations of Sareyyet Ramallah are based on belief in community development and the cohesion and stability generated by community groups as a positive contribution to the building of the nation. While recognizing that community groups require the freedom to participate in a variety of fields that strengthen Palestinian society, Sareyyet Ramallah has establishedits cultural identity by absorbing different community groups, particularly those dealing with youth, to engage them in programs that ensure purposeful interaction and enhance a spirit of national loyalty and team work.

Since its establishment in 1930, Sareyyet Ramallah has engaged in diverse activities to cover the largest possible cross section of the community without discrimination.

Its goals have been directed towards community development and building the awareness, ambitions and entrepreneurship of a generation of young people by gaining from the skills of Al-Sareyye members and enhancing national and community values in participation in scouts, sports, and artistic, cultural and social fields.

To encourage individuals to participate in community development, Sareyyet Ramallah organizes activities and events that bring together Palestinian families and various groups, thereby enhancing family - community networking and stimulating voluntary work to serve the local community. Sareyyet Ramallah also highlights the Palestinian identity in cultural, artistic and sporting events regionally and internationally. Sareyyet Ramallah has excelled in presenting Palestinian culture in amodern and non-traditional way that portrays Palestinians as a resilient people who love life.

Sareyyet Ramallah continues its policy of promoting awareness activities and events that stimulate community creativity, including an annual martyrs’ championship and an educational summer camp with a special program to encourage children’s creativity.

The launch of the Nowar Nisan festival for children will be held in cooperation with a number of local institutions, along with a digital design camp in Egypt and Tunisia, a Ramallah camp for voluntary work, and an adventure and discovery camp in Jordan.

Since 2006 Sareyyet Ramallah has organized the Ramallah Modern Dance Festival, which includes local and international teams.

  In 2013 the Festival targeted people with special needs under the slogan “Diversity is Natural” and hosted special needs dancers from Britain, Tunisia and Belgium. Sareyyet Ramallah has contributed to establishing “Masahat” modern dance network in the Arab world, including Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. This network organizes a modern dance festival annually with the cooperation of several Arab states.

Special Needs
First Place: Mohammed Al Arabi

 Through perseverance and ambition, Mohammed Awad Al Arabi of the Gaza Strip has succeeded in overcoming his disability and contributing to changing the lives of many individuals with special needs. His innovative ideas resolved a problem related to electric wheelchairs for the disabled and he has adapted 21 electric wheelchairs to operate by solar power.

The launch of the solar power project, the first and only project of it’s kind in the country, came about thanks to funds from UNDP and aimed to address the impact of frequent electric outages on individuals with special needs and facilitate their daily lives.

During his career, Al Arabi issued the first brochure on disabled sport in Palestine entitled “Methods of Dealing with Disability Sports” and funded by the Handicap International organization. Additionally, through his individual and personal efforts, he established the first sports club for individuals with special needs in the Gaza Strip. Later, the club became one of the best sports clubs in Gaza in creating a new generation of men and women athletes.

His disability has never been a barrier to the achievement of Al Arabi’s dreams and he obtained his BA in Business Administrationin 2009. Today, he holds a number of positions, including Chairman of the Peace Sports Club for the Disabled; elected Secretary of the Palestinian Paralympic Committee for his services to sport for the disabled in Palestine; a member of the Disabled Central Group Organization; Deputy Chief of Himam Youth Center; and a board member of the Ansar Al Asra organization.

Al Arabi’s ambitions have no limits; he hopes to stand as a candidate for the Palestinian Legislative Council.

 He wants to represent individuals with special needs, to highlight their true situation and to mobilize support and assistance from several institutions. This will assist individuals with special needs to adapt and cope with the difficulties they face and will also raise awareness of the fact that this sector of society has the potential to excel, be creative, and to contribute and participate in the process of building and developing the country.

Second Place: Khalid Sha’ban Fararjah

 With great determination and perseverance, Khalid Sha’ban Fararjah of Deheisheh camp in Bethlehem Governorate has challenged the effects of polio in the lower parts of his body and has developed his sporting skills in the game of basketball. His hard training has resulted in many achievements and success in national championships. He has won several awards for best player, participated in table tennis championships for individuals with special needs, and has won most national championships in spite of his disability.

Thanks to his dedication to training, Khalid has participated on his own terms in the Arab world, specifically in table tennis games for individuals with special needs (sitting in a wheelchair and standing using crutches).

 He won an international gold medal in Jordan in 2008. He also won the bronze medal in table tennis in the United Arab Emirates in 2011 during the World Games Championship.

Khalid’s perseverance and determination made him a football coach for children for more than twenty years. He is also an active member of many associations and committees, including an elected member of the national Table Tennis Association (for healthy individuals) during 2004-2008; Chairman of the Sub-Committee of the Table Tennis Association in Bethlehem; chairman of teams in the governorate; and a former member of the Supporting Sub-Committee of the Palestinian Football Association in Bethlehem. He is the founder and member of many administrative bodies of sport institutions and clubs, including the Sports Club in Deheisheh, Deheisheh Creativity Club, the Palestinian Table Tennis Association, and the Deheisheh Public Library.

Khalid never gives up or succumbs to mobility-driven challenges. In addition to the athletic skills he enjoys, he is a dedicated employee in the Higher Council for Youth and Sports in Bethlehem and participates in many sporting events and community activities to set an example as a role model for others to emulate.

The Project Category
First Place: “This is Jerusalem” Program. Palestinian Association for Cultural Development “Nawa”

Palestinian artists and musicians have all agreed upon one goal; to preserve the cultural, art, and music heritage in historic Palestine and convey it to future generations, especially the youth. To revive the Palestinian musical compositions and cultural heritage lost and destroyed during the Nakba - that exiled the country’s population along with its artists into the Diaspora- through the initiative of the Palestinian Association for Development and culture (Nawa) in its cultural documentary “This is Jerusalem”.

“This is Jerusalem” aims to restore the Palestinian cultural memory as well as the great works of art created by many Palestinian geniuses, for example: the late Palestinian musician Rawhi Al Khammash. To bring back these great works of art to their native home - Palestine- and entrust them to the new Palestinian generation, in an innovative way, without altering the spirit and authenticity of the original work.

Through “This is Jerusalem” program, (Nawa) believes that its national responsibility necessitate the collection of this forgotten heritage and conveying it to new generations, through the redistribution of productions of art. Refuting the “ALAkhar” story, which claimed that pre-1948 Palestine was merely a plethora of scattered communities that had no cultural identity. The Organizers of this project, which was initiated four years ago, collected the works of late musician Rawhi Al Khammash who immigrated to Iraq in 1948. They have also succeeded in returning his artistic archive to its original home, and re-producing the very first stanzas album in the history of the Palestinian music library.

 The project culminated its first accomplishment by giving live performances of the album’s songs, in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Nazareth, Jaffa, Haifa, Acre and Tarshiha. To continue its efforts, aiming to shed light on an extremely vital phase in the history of the Palestinian cultural heritage (prior to its successive setbacks), the Arab Musical Group (Nawa) has expanded to include 30 new musicians and singers, and continues to work towards launching the second artistic work of the “This is Jerusalem” project.

Tire Recycling Project- Hebron

 Murad Dweik and his wife, Nida Dweik, initiated a significant project that simultaneously supports the local economy and protects the Palestinian environment.

They wanted to bolster national efforts to achieve economic efficiency and to rely on local products. Their tire recycling project is based on the fact that rubber is a biodegradable material that may pollute the surrounding environment.

The project is based on the collection of damaged tires for recycling. These are then placed on an integrated production line to be converted from useless and polluting products into raw materials of high value and of use to many local industries.

The resulting product can be used to replace materials imported by manufacturers from overseas, such as the rubber used in making shoes, rubber tiles and other materials that are in growing demand, and at a price less than half of the alternative plus the import costs incurred.

The project contributes to the protection of the Palestinian environment while providing low-cost raw materials for many industries in the local market. This can reduce the production costs incurred by local factories and companies and can contribute to the creation of job opportunities in local industries currently facing economic challenges; this is especially important due to the high unemployment rates in Palestine.

Dweik and his wife made agreements with shoe factories and companies dealing in metal smelting and casting and building materials in Hebron to use the rubber and metal wires produced from the recycling and conversion of rubber, at competitive prices that are lower than foreign imports. Thus, the costs of production and imports incurred by these factories  and companies will be reduced.

The owners of the project hope to develop it further through participation in regional events, taking advantage of international experiences and techniques in modern industry, and expand it through the governorates. They aim to contribute to the support of local industry and Palestinian products. This will also enhance the national economy by relying on local resources and Palestinian skills to minimize reliance on imported materials and products.

The International Awardees 2014
Mr. Joseph “Sepp” Blatter President of FIFA

 His philosophy is “football for everyone and everyone for football” in the belief that sport can revive hope in the hearts of people who live in poverty all over the world. Since becoming the President of FIFA in 1998, Josef Sepp Blatter has addressed the needs of Palestinian sportspeople to enable them to present Palestinian sport to the world and overcome the obstacles imposed by the occupation on Palestinian rights to sport.

Sepp Blatter is committed to humanitarian work, particularly in Palestine where he has used football to gather people together and open dialogue between them. He has visited Palestine many times and has opened a new sports facility and stadium on each visit. In 2008 he inaugurated the first football stadium in Palestine of international standards to give footballers the right to play in their homeland. He also inaugurated the stadium named after the martyr Jamal Ghanem in Tulkarm in 2013, in addition to the Joseph Blatter Academy for Football.

Through these sport facilities, Blatter seeks to update run-down stadiums in Palestine and help Palestinians to develop their sporting talents and play football just like people around the world, in spite of the obstacles imposed by the Israeli occupation.

Blatter has pursued his philosophy of providing football for everyone without discrimination. Thus, in 2008 he established the first women’s football team in Palestine to allow Palestinian women to play football as a major sport and he has enhanced the status of female teams in society on a par with men.

This establishes a culture of sport for women in Palestinian society and raises female sport to a professional level both internationally and regionally.

Through his work in Palestine, Blatter has sought to make football a source of happiness for Palestinians living under occupation in line with his mantra that “We have on this earth what makes life worth living”. The Board of Trustees has decided to award Josef “Sepp Blatter the Palestine International Award for Excellence and Creativity for his tendency and perseverance in reviving Palestinian sport internationally.

Mr. Steve Sosebee Executive Director of PCRF (Palestine Children’s Relief Fund) in Palestine

 Since co-founding the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) in 1991 during the first intifada, Steve Sosebee has transformed and saved the lives of thousands of Palestinians by providing medical aid to sick and injured children who needed specialized care, including treatment abroad when they could not be treated in Palestine.

Over the past fifteen years, Steve Sosebee, the Chief Executive Director and President of PCRF, has arranged medical treatment for thousands of sick and injured children and has transferred them to specialized hospitals under the supervision of skilled and specialist doctors in the USA, Europe and Middle East. The PCRF covers all the main costs of travel and accommodation for each child and their companions, while the hospitals and doctors provide free medical treatment.

This also includes Palestinian children living in the diaspora, as well as children from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, regardless of their religion, race or nationality.

As a result of his outstanding networking skills and management of PCRF as a humanitarian framework to save the lives of children, Steve Sosebee has recruited a thousands of volunteers in the Middle East and the USA to host and assist sick and injured children during their treatment abroad, in addition to providing building programs in Palestine to treat children

who suffer from life-threatening congenital heart disease. In 2013, the PCRF opened the first and only public pediatric cancer dept. in the name of his late wife, Huda Al-Masri, to provide Palestinian children cancer treatment otherwise not available to them under occupation.

The Board of Trustees has decided to award Steve Sosebee the Palestine International Award for Excellence and Creativity in recognition of his efforts to provide health care to Palestinian children and for his support for the Palestinian cause from a humanitarian perspective.

Dr Swee Chai Ang Author of «From Beirut to Jerusalem» Book

 Dr Swee Chai Ang took the decision to leave London and join her colleagues in international organizations offering medical support to the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon during the 1982 Invasion. She went to Beirut believing that the Palestinians had never existed and that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was a “terrorist organization that hates the Jewish people”.

Yet, looking in her eyes today, her dedication to support all those who survived that bloody massacre which remains in her memory is clear. For Dr Swee Chai Ang witnessed and worked through the massacre of 15-18 September 1982 in Sabra and Shatilla Palestinian refugee camps.

Despite the difficult conditions in the two camps due to power outages and lack of medical equipment and medicine, Dr Swee treated the wounded victims and earned the respect of massacre survivors. Her experiences in Sabra and Shatilla camps compelled her to write her testimony on the massacre in a book called “From Beirut to Jerusalem”.

 The book is a tribute to the Palestinians, and is dedicated to them and their friends. She writes: ”Those people hosted me, gave me Arabic coffee and shared all they had with generosity. They told me their stories and how they came as refugees to Lebanon, showed me old pictures of their families and houses in Palestine before 1948, and showed me the keys of their houses, which they still have.”

Dr Swee promised to continue to support the Palestinians and to publicize the reality of the Palestinian people displaced from their land, killed or who had lost their homes. When she returned to London, she joined with friends and colleagues to set up the Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) organization in 1984. MAP provides medical and relief services for the Palestinian people and children in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and refugee camps in Lebanon.

MAP, in which Dr Swee is Patron, still provides services in Palestine and Lebanon. Dr Swee also worked and lived in Gaza during the First Intifada, looking after the wounded.

The name of Dr Swee will remain in the memory of every Palestinian who survived the massacre, just as their voices and faces remain in her memory. Her name is engraved as a humanitarian activist who continues to reveal the reality to the world and seeks to ensure that all Palestinian children have the right to live. In recognition of her humanitarian role of service to the Palestinian people, the former President and martyr Yasser Arafat awarded Dr Swee the Star of Palestine and the Board of Trustees has awarded her the Palestine International Award for Excellence and Creativity.

Mr. Arif Masood Naqvi Founder and Group Chief Executive The Abraaj Group

The founder and Group Chief Executive of The Abraaj Group, Mr Arif Masood Naqvi, has spared no efforts to alleviate the suffering of children in Gaza in the wake of Israel’s military attack on the Palestinian people in 2008.

In 2009, Mr Naqvi established the Mustaqbali Foundation, in partnership with the Welfare AssociatonAssociation, to provide means of support to children orphaned as a result of the Gaza conflicyt conflict.

The MUSTAQBALI program aims to empower orphaned children and young people and to provide them with a decent life and hope for a better future. The Abraaj Group has endowed the Foundation with USD 10 million to meet the needs of 1804 orphans and to enable the program to provide support to them for a period of 22 years. .

In addition to his humanitarian work with the orphans of Gaza, Mr Naqvi contributes to many development programs and projects that support young people and motivate entrepreneurship and creativeness. Mr. Naqvi has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Oslo Business for Peace Award, the highest form of recognition given to individual business leaders for fostering peace and stability through creating shared value between business and society, and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, a prominent civilian honor awarded by the Government of Pakistan. In 2011, he was named as one of the 50 most influential people in the global private equity industry by Private Equity International. In 2008, Mr. Naqvi and his family established the Aman Foundation, the largest private social sector enterprise in Pakistan focusing on healthcare, nutrition, vocational training and education.

In appreciation of Mr Naqvi’s continued generosity to the cause and children of Palestine, the Board of Trustees has decided to award him the Palestine International Award for Excellence and Creativity as a role model  for .