Saturday, 9 November 2013

Gaza forum showcases youth creativity despite crippling blockade


Gaza proves its creativity everyday. The besieged region has never bowed down to the confines of a brain-sapping blockade complete with crippling closures, meager resources and traumatic experiences of war.

Many Gaza youths transcend all of these odds with their dreams, where the stars of hope light up their minds.

But how could the youth of Gaza translate their ideas into a concrete reality that lives up to their aspirations?

One avenue is the Palestinian Forum for Innovation and Technology-PALFIT, organized by the University College of Applied Sciences along with 12 universities and colleges. The forum opened their doors to more than 100 creative enterprises to show and market what Gaza’s youth have done.

The events of the forum were held for two days, October 29 and October 30th, in the Rashad Al Shawa Cultural Center in central Gaza City. It included an exhibition of the projects and four workshops.

“The workshops discussed the role of universities and trade unions in [addressing] Gaza’s rising unemployment rate, as well as the role of civil society organizations and the public sector in empowering the capacities of graduates and offering job opportunities for them,” said Hassan Abu Mutair, the coordinator of the forum. “12 Palestinian universities across the Gaza Strip took part in the Forum of which 100 entrepreneurial projects are selected.”

Abu Mutair pointed out that the project ideas are all inspired by the hard reality of the lives of Gazans, noting that the organizers meant to choose the most creative ones.

At one corner of the exhibition Manal Saleem, standing by her colleague Nedaa Weshaa, was passing a mobile phone through pieces of clothes. Saleem said, “the phone is engineered to produce musical beats that could make the blind feel the colors and the scenic beauty of nature,” and thus, “transcend the disability without any cost.”

“Our aim is mainly to develop smart phone applications to help the blind and the visually impaired to identify colors,” according to Saleem, the manager of the Color Vision company.

Another enterprise present at the forum was the Hope Association For the Deaf. It managed to introduce a multi-service application to those who are speaking and hearing-impaired to assist them by contacting sound-hearing people via smart phones.

Khalil Saleem, the initiator of the idea, says “we seek to facilitate the life of those with hearing defection, so that they could be socially integrated, and a working force equal to the people enjoying good health.” more

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