A Deaf Woman in Palestine Finds Hope in Pottery


When Randa lost her hearing, her parents were worried about their daughter's future. But with the support of a CBM programme, Randa is now a master potter and ceramist.

Randa was just one year old when she developed a high fever and lost her hearing. Her parents were worried about what opportunities their daughter would have in a city like Gaza and a country like Palestine, which is marked by constant conflict and insecurity.

Even if they are determined to live a full life in difficult circumstances, it is not always easy for persons with disabilities. And this is what worries many parents of children like Randa and makes them lose hope.

For Randa and her parents, however, hope has been restored through a free programme supported by CBM. The programme provides a range of educational, rehabilitation and protective services for deaf and hard of hearing children and their parents.

When they learned about it, Randa's parents enrolled her in the early intervention programme at CBM's partner school Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children (ASDC) in Gaza City, Palestine.

Atfaluna is a school for deaf children in the Gaza Strip. It was established in 1992 and provides educational and support services for deaf people of all ages. The school offers classes, speech therapy and audiology. It also houses a café where deaf people are employed and a shop selling handicrafts made by deaf artisans. Atfaluna's clients also include young parents coping with their disabilities while raising children.

It is here that Randa and her parents were trained to communicate with each other.

"We learned sign language and along the way we learned to accept our child without being shy," adds her mother.

Building Livelihoods

Along the way, Randa joined the programme's vocational training unit. It was there that she chose painting. The skills she learnt there included good colour vision and a sense of aesthetics, developing attention to detail and a solid familiarity with painting tools and materials. She then specialised in wood painting. She learned how to choose the perfect colours and how to mix them.

Within no time, Randa built up a collection of her own products, which were exhibited at the Atfaluna Bazaar.

"I was overjoyed when I saw my products exhibited in the gallery. I am even happier when people admire and buy them. It means the money goes back to Atfaluna and people with hearing disabilities get more support."

After mastering wood painting, Randa took a more challenging path. She joined the ceramics and pottery department

Along the way, she even became a mentor, training others to work with ceramics and wood.

With her first salary, Randa felt very empowered. She supports her family. "I gave some money to my nephews and nieces to buy food," Randa said.

Talking about her dreams, Randa wishes to have her own gallery for her products and would also like to travel the world with them. "I want to show the world what I have created and what people with disabilities are capable of doing."