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The International Writers Magazine: Jordan

Video clip highlights resolve of challenged individuals 
Marwan Asmar
It’s a video clip to boost the confidence of the physically-challenged to lead normal lives and to tell parents to be strong.


It's probably the first made in the Arab world and throws the door open in front of  the handicapped issue that is still being swept under the carpet because of shame and guilt. Through song and slick cinematography, the clip is about a growing up boy  challenging himself to do all the things "normal" people would do and take for granted.

This is thanks to his mother ceaselessly engaging her son in school, endless home-work, private teachers, physiotherapists, and outdoor activities as swimming and horse-riding, to get the limbs moving and the mind going.

The five-minute clip inspires and shows. Launched on  22 December 2010 in Amman, Jordan, it is the brainchild of  the Rahaf Organization in Jordan and produced by Shadda TV, part of the Al Majd Satellite Television in Saudi Arabia.

The “Koli Amaal” video clip loosely translated from Arabic “I am all hope” screens the boy in his different daily life trials. The song was especially developed by Saudi singer Amer Alomair who composed the track especially to underline the handicap case in the Arab world.
Rahaf, a private organization works in cooperation with the Higher Council of Persons with Disabilities (HCPPD) in Jordan which is supported by His Royal Highness Prince Raad who takes direct interest in physically-challenged individuals, and in fact it was under his patronage the video clip was launched, underlining private-public sector cooperation. 

On the day of the launch, Dr Amal Al Nahass, Secretary-General of the Higher Council of Persons with Disabilities (HCPPD) and accompanied by Dr Ahmad Al Lowzi, HCPD board member and President of the Society of the Blind for Western Asia, deputized for the prince.
Because the video clip is about making people more aware, Rahaf wants as much publicity as possible on the local, regional and international levels as it subtitled into English. On the day's launch, it invited a wide variety of media organizations of satellite television stations, community radio stations in Jordan and daily newspapers come for coverage.

The director of the clip Mohammad Hafeth Jaber appeared at the launch and so was Marwan Zeinaldin who made the scenario. Ahmad Damous, presenter at Radio Al Balad, a local community radio in Amman, hosted the event.

He  states the handicapped are unknown soldiers, they exist but are not recognized by society, and through our local radio station we can contribute to making people more aware of their plight. The Department of Public Statistics in Jordan states that the percentage of the physically challenged in Jordanian population is estimated to be between 7% to 10% . Some statistics suggest that the number of handicapped in the country is around 600,000 people out of a population of six million. The world percentages stands at 10%, 600 million, and 9% to 10% in the Arab world.

Swimmer The clip shows Mohammad photographed at his family home, in school, swimming pool and among  and playing with his friends. One other handicapped boy appears in the clip and there are shots of other children playing. Director Jaber says that the making of the video clip was worthwhile, and its airing on the satellites should go a long way to making people across the Arab world, more aware of people with physical difficulties and to understand this sector is have lives, they need to work and have aspirations.

Alomair, an up-and-coming Saudi talent, especially came from Saudi Arabia to help put together the clip. He said he was very glad to take part in a worthwhile cause which will surely improve the plight of the handicapped.

In addition to local community radios like Farah Al Naas and Radio Al Balad, big satellite television stations as Aljazeera Direct, MBC, the Saudi ABS Cultural Station, Normina, Watan TV and and Shada TV of course, were all at the launch. A Representative from the Jordan Press Agency, Petra, was present for coverage as well as national newspapers like Addustour, Al Ghad and Al Arab Al Youm.
"We are very glad that the media came, as they are crucial in airing out the video and help towards changing how society views those with physical disabilities, says Rahaf director Kholoud Asmar. “There must be greater understanding on part of society for these segments who need to be properly cared for, rather than left in the home with many parents feeling ashamed, hiding them away as if they are a sort of an ailment, she points out.

Pepsi Jordan came for the launch, underlying the corporate social responsibility issue. The soft drinks company have backed Rahaf  in previous activities that deal with children with disabilities and underprivileged backgrounds. "We are glad to be at this video launch that underlines this very important sector of society, and is a reflection of our commitment to support such causes," says Mohammad Arabyat, Public Relations Director in Pepsi, Jordan. They have already decided to employ six persons with disabilities.

Mohammad's Arabic teacher in the Al Manhal School Mr Mohammad Al Duwaik also attended the launch, emphasizing his school's policy to support and facilitate the teaching of children with special physical difficulties.

People with disabilities came to the video clip launch. Adnan Al Kafreini, who has athetoid  cerebral palsy, and calls himself  "Ambassador for the Handicapped." Adnan has worked hard to gain his BA degree in Social Studies from one of the local universities and works hard through an NGO to support his wife and baby daughter.

Bilal Samoor, a person with deformity in his hands is an IT expert. He says despite his IT BA degree from Jordan University, employers will not hire him because of his hands despite the fact that he uses the keyboard to type on the computer and surf the Internet. He previously had a job in IT, but says his employer sacked him once he got what he wanted from Bilal.
Nevertheless, his IT expertise maybe his passport to greater things for he seriously wants to go to places like Britain where he says there is a big market to help people like him with physical difficulties.

The lyrics of the video's song was subtitled into English by Ibtihal Asmar, the deputy-director of Rahaf.  "Our organization and the video clip director felt it was important to produce English subtitling so it reaches maximum audiences as it is aired on the satellites," she says.
"With English subtitling even non-Arabic speakers can listen to what is being sung."
Despite the difficulties there are encouraging signs society is changing albeit slowly. Presently, Bassam Abdo is a blind person who had his own radio show at Farah Al Naas, Osama Al Sayed has a show on A One TV while Rami Zaloum has a show appropriately called "We are all the same" in Radio Al Balad.

These steps suggest the bright future in Jordan and maybe the Arab world is just around the corner, and challenged individuals will definitely have a positive role in the development of their societies with the help of such organizations as Rahaf.
See link of video clip:

© Jan 2011

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