Galala University (GU) hosted a celebration event for the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities” as part of the continuous series of cultural and social activities organized for GU students, faculty members, and administrative staff.
Mr. Ibrahim Al-Husseini Hamdto, the legendary Egyptian table tennis athlete who previously, in 2016, competed in the Paralympic Games which took place in Rio de Janeiro, participated in the event. Moreover, the event also witnessed the presence of Caritas-Egypt, a non-governmental organization that aims to achieve comprehensive development for every human being regardless of color, origin, gender or religion, through highlighting the roles of marginalized groups as productive and effective individuals in the society.
The event began with a speech by Dr. Mohammad Al-Shennawi, Acting Vice President of Galala University for International Cooperation, Community Service and Environmental Development, who expressed the importance of this international occasion that align with the GU’s plan to achieve sustainable development and its role towards the community, stating that, “People with disabilities are an integral part of the international community in general and the Egyptian community specifically, and it is the responsibility of everyone in the society to assure their self-confidence and capabilities through their participation in various activities, and to fully involve them in all aspects of life and development.”
After that, Ms. Janet Samir, Director of Public Relations at Caritas Egypt, played a short movie about the societal perception for people with disabilities. She also mentioned the Organization’s efforts to protect children with disabilities and how to implement protection policies on the ground, explaining the importance of this to people working in this field in order to prevent any violations children with disabilities may be exposed to. She also added that Caritas – Egypt has established “SETI Caritas” to overcome the problem of the lack of available services to people with disabilities; as SETI works to rehabilitate them and help their parents to properly deal with them and ask for their rights, in addition to training calibers working in the field, raising awareness of the society and changing their mindset for the better.
The ceremony witnessed the affection of the attendees with the inspiring heroic story of Hamato; being the first table tennis player to participate in the Paralympics with no arms, relying solely on his teeth. Speaking about the beginning of his admiration to the game, Hamato said: “It all started when I witnessed an argument between two of my friends on score keeping; here I decided to try on the game. First, I tried holding the racket beneath my arms, but that did not work, then I decided to hold it with my mouth and to throw the ball with my foot”. He further stated that he is training with absolute determination to prepare for the previously postponed Paralympics.
At the end of the celebration, Hamato, the national champion, with the participation of GU students, faculty members and employees, played table tennis, in an atmosphere filled with enthusiasm and admiration for his resilience and abilities to achieve the impossible.