Meet Issa Jamaal – youth movement member and activists for rights of people with disabilities
“I feel that being a social activist and youth counselor is my victory over my disability, and over what’s difficult for me in life.” Issa Jamaal, a 22-year old with a disability from Kafr Kara – a Muslim village in northern Israel – knows what it’s like to be part of a group that needs to fight to be seen.
Issa has had his disability since childhood, and is paralyzed in his lower body due to a spinal injury. Issa bloomed in the local branch of the HaNoar HaOved youth movement, associated with Dror Israel, where he had an important social place and began feeling more and more attached to the movement. In recent years, Issa has been coordinating the program for special-needs youth in Kafr Kara. He established a group of youth with special needs and together they learn, talk and develop their opinions on society and the matters important to them, and develop as both individuals and local activists. They go to demonstrations, collect donations, and organize ceremonies, but the most important part of the activity is simply the friendships and safe space of the group.
“I am part of the village and the community is important to me. I am an important part of the community and I know it,” says Issa. “I have been privileged to make my dreams come true in the HaNoar HaOved youth movement. In places where the community limits us or makes us feel like we don’t belong because we have special needs, we work together as a group to change that.”