Freedom & Friendship Delegation “Ibrahim’s Dream”
Ibrahim Abu Thuraya is a 26 year old young man who lives in a very crowded refugee camp in Gaza. Dealing with everyday life can be harsh, the lack of electricity, or petrol or food. All of this makes life difficult for Ibrahim, who is tasked with the responsibility of providing for the 11 member family, two of whom are attemtping to go to college. The whole family depends on Ibrahim to survive, you see, Ibrahim’s father is not well and disabled. Albiet this would be a difficult enough task for any of us here in Ireland, but for Ibrahim it is even more difficult because he lives in Gaza.
Ibrahim was once a proud Gazan fisherman. Everyday he took to the sea in his small boat and fished the waters near his home. Being a fisherman is never easy, and can at times be dangerous, even in Ireland we know this to be so. Yet in Gaza fishermen face another danger that we dont have here in Ireland. Gazan fishermen must face the israeli navy on a daily basis as israel continues to tighten the seige by restricting the fishing areas and enforcing these illegal self made restrictions by firing at the small fishing boats as they cast their nets in hope of receiving a days worth of food. Sometimes setting the small boats on fire and sinking them, sometimes killing the fishermen on board.
But sadly Ibrahim is no longer a proud Gazan fisherman.
Ibrahim has been injured four times by Israeli attacks since the age of 12. But his life changed forever in 2008 when Israel attacked Gaza, 1400 people were slaughtered in 22 days, many more were left severely wounded and injured. It was during this time that Ibrahim was struck by an israeli artillary shell. He lost both his legs and one of his eyes.
Today Ibrahim is forced to try his best to make ends meet for himself and his family by washing cars in Gaza.
Ibrahim’s day begins early, at 7AM he gathers his supplies, ties his bucket to his old ragged wheelchair, then he kisses his mother’s hand and says “goodbye” as he begins his journey around the streets of Gaza looking for cars to wash. He maneuvers deftly with his rag and bucket and tries his best to reach every part of the car. All this for $1.50 or $3 if the car owner decides to be generous.
In our terms that is £0.94 or E1.19 per car!
As soon as a driver agrees to let Ibrahim wash his car, the disabled young man works so hard until the car is shining. Nobody helps him but he smiles when he finishes cleaning the car and hands it back to the owner.
“Please never look at my disabled body, look at the great job I ‘m doing,” said Abu Thuraya “I never felt despaired. It’s not the end of the world and life should go on.” He refuses any offers from car owners to give him money without him doing any job. “I’m not a hobo or a beggar. I can work and make my living,” he said. “Although I earn little money, at the end of the day I feel happy and satisfied because I hate just staying at home or becoming a beggar.”
Ibrahim uses his old manual wheelchair which is laden down with his buckets and rags to get around the streets of Gaza in order to work washing cars. His wheelchair has a tendancy to tip over at times, especially when he transfers from the chair to the car and back again, or when he turns corners. But that doesnt have to be so, Ibrahim has a dream of haivng his own electric powerchair so that he can carry all his supplies and safely get around the streets of Gaza easier, travel much farther, and perform his job faster than he can now. Having a special chair that wont tip over would help him avoid any more injuries!! An electric chair would give him the chance to earn more money, and make his work much easier and his life much freer!
Official figures show that the Gaza Strip has tens of thousands of disabled people, and due to years of tight Israeli blockade the coastal enclave is in a bad need of medical equipment for these people. Ibrahim says: “I feel embarrassed when people look at my disability, but life has to continue.”
PLEASE DONATE TO HELP US MAKE IBRAHIM’S DREAM COME TRUE
You can support our endeavours to deliver an Electric Wheelchair to Ibrahim by making a donation to our group.
You can make a standing order for any amount, or a bank transfer can be sent via:
Bank of Ireland
Sort Code 90 49 74
Strand Road, Derry
Cheques can be sent:
Friends of Palestine
45 Great James Street
Derry, BT48 7DF