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OPT: Refugee Stories - Disability No Obstacle to Work With JCP

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Al Samuaa village, Hebron area, January 2010 - Ali Abu Al-Kabash is 52 years old. He has been blind since birth. Ali lives in Al Samuaa village in the Hebron area with his wife, who is a refugee from Gaza. The couple owns a one-bedroom home with a small kitchen and bathroom. They have no children, says Ali: "How can I afford kids when I can't even afford my own living?"

Despite the economic difficulties he faces, Ali has never let his disability stop him from fulfilling his ambitions. He has been working as a broom-maker since 1973. He learnt his trade at the Lutheran Union School in Beit Hanina, which today is funded by the European Union. Since then, Ali has been making broom-brushes for the West Bank municipalities to sell at market value. He is currently working for the Hebron municipality under UNRWA's job creation programme (JCP), which is generously funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO).

Ali's current contract began in July and will run until the end of September. It is the first time that he has worked under JCP, and he wishes he could get more work under the programme.

"I am an expert in this but I need to work under a programme like this, because if I opened my own shop I would be robbed blind! If you pardon the expression."