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Hiba Al Sharfa has become the Gaza Strip’s first teacher with Down’s Syndrome, after a lifelong effort to achieve the dream.

Al Sharfa teaches at Right to Live, an NGO based in the Gaza Strip that supports and cares for children with Down’s Syndrome. It works to help educate and support children with the learning disabilities with the aim of helping them integrate into mainstream society.  

Other members of staff say Al Sharfa is close to her students and able to better meet their needs because she understands their experiences having lived through similar struggles herself. More than 400 children are educated at the Right to Live Centre, who participate in classes including dance, crafts, and life skills.

Nabil Aljaneed, director of rehabilitation at the Centre, said there is still a great deal of work to do in supporting people with Down’s Syndrome in Gaza. “We do numerous workshops and awareness programs for the local community, because honestly until now the local society is very poor when it comes to accepting the kids and young people who have this disorder,” he said.