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Gaza women with hearing disabilities raise awareness with movies

women communicating in sign language
Photo: © Reuters

A group of eight Palestinian women with hearing disabilities are using stop motion animation to make short films in an effort to raise awareness about their disability.

Not only do the women plan to use their movies as an advocacy tool, they also hope to earn an income as hearing disabled women aren’t offered many career opportunities.

The group has made two short films so far – one about sign language and the other advocating their right to work in Gaza, where unemployment stands at 49 percent. The women hope the films will inspire people with hearing disabilities to pursue their goals despite any barriers they may face.

The animation process is simple: the women create characters, draw the images on paper, shoot the film with their cellphone cameras using a stop motion application, and coworkers without hearing loss add the voices.

Hiba Abu Jazar, 27, said she was thrilled to produce her own movies and to teach others to do the same, hoping the skill will help her, and others like her, find employment.

“I want to be self-dependent and make films so I can make an income. People with hearing disabilities have no jobs and no chances of finding jobs,” Abu Jazar said in sign language through an interpreter at Gaza Hemam Youth Center where the training takes place.

The group’s trainer, Haneen Koraz, said the project gave the women a way to raise awareness about hearing disabilities and follow their ambitions through art and creativity, all at the same time.

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