Hand-out 3A - Stories

Story 1.
Mohammed lives with his family in a village in the north of an Arab country. He is the only son and has three sisters. When he was two years old he had a fever and developed polio. As a result he can not use his legs. As the village is in a mountainous area and his house far from the school he did not attend school. However his sisters taught him to read, write and basic math. When a vocational training centre opened in the village he was the first one to enrol. Although the training centre wanted him to train for shoe maker he insisted on training in sewing. It was either sewing or nothing. The centre gave in and Mohammed learned how to sew. Even before Mohammed graduated, his father had set up a workshop for him with sewing machines and all the materials. He has established himself and earns a good living with the workshop and has a lot of customers. He recently bought a car because public transportation to his workshop was a problem. The drivers would not stop for him. First he used the family tractor to go to work but now he has his own car. He hopes to be able to find a good wife who would like to marry him for what he is: he has a good income and is healthy.

Story 2.
Fatma lives with her family on the outskirts of a big city in the Arab world. When she was two years old her family became aware that Fatma was not like other children. They took her to many doctors and were told that she has Down Syndrome which leads to learning difficulties. Her mother heard from a neighbour that not far from their neighbourhood there was a special centre for children like Fatma. Her mother went there with Fatma and she was enrolled. Every day the centre's bus would pick Fatma up from her house, take her to the centre and back again at the end of the day. She learned how to do sewing, knitting and other handicrafts. When she graduated from the centre she joined a sheltered workshop. Here she works in the biscuit factory where she puts biscuits in boxes. At home she helps her mother and sisters with the household chores and looks after the younger children in the house.

Story 3.
Mahmoud is a young man living in a big city in the Arab world. When he was young he had polio and his parents send him to an institution. When the war broke out he lost contact with his family and stayed in the institution. Here he received daily rehabilitation and learned how to repair electrical equipment. A few years ago he was reunited with his family. He now lives with his family and has found a job in a factory, first as a telephone operator but later assembling electrical meters. He was able to buy an adapted car and will tell you that he could not do without it. He would like to get married but housing is a big problem for people using wheelchairs. Mahmoud complains: 'If you are able to overcome all the steps to get into the building to apply for housing, your application form is put at the back of the pile as soon as they see that you are disabled'. Mahmoud likes to play sports in the sports centre for disabled people. He plays basket ball and table tennis. He says; 'It is fun but it also lifts up your spirits when you hear the spectators cheering'.

*Adapted from: CDI (1990). Just Ordinary People. Co-operation for Development Int.Ltd./Jordan Television.


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