Video: Blind karate in Gaza

This karate team in Gaza is comprised of men who are blind or visually impaired.

Their coach, Hasan al-Rai, also trains a karate team of women who use wheelchairs.

“I faced many difficulties,” al-Rai told The Electronic Intifada.

“I was able to convince civil society organizations that blind people have the ability to practice all sorts of sports, including martial arts.”

Palestinians with disabilities in Gaza are more vulnerable to the extremely tough living conditions in the coastal enclave.

“We understand that life is difficult in the Gaza Strip, for example transportation for the blind,” Mumen al-Bitar, a team member, says of the difficulties of getting around.

“Our community is not supportive enough and there are no funds.”

Palestinians with disabilities are, however, determined to practice sports despite the lack of resources.

“Karate teaches us many things. It strengthens the body, it stimulates circulation. But it also enhances self-confidence,” Muhammad al-Mahani, another team member, tells The Electronic Intifada.

“To be able to speak to anyone, to go about your life normally, to have inner strength and for people to see you as someone who practices karate and is active, just like anyone else,” al-Mahani says.

Video by Ruwaida Amer and Sanad Ltefa.