"Disability does not stand between a man and his aspirations"

Iraq

April 19, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Hussein Shakir/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Hassan outside the Mercy Corps-supported computer lab where he learned skills that got him a job. Photo: Hussein Shakir/Mercy Corps

"Disability does not stand as obstacle between a man and his aspirations. The real disability is the disability of will and determination," 21-year-old Hassan told me. He comes from a poor family of five siblings that struggles to make a living and survive in the Souk Al-Shoyuk district of Nasiriyah, Iraq.

Although he is disabled — he has to walk on crutches — Hassan is one of the most well-known athletes in this part of Iraq. He is a weightlifter who has won gold medals.

He told me that being disabled is a tough thing to deal with in everyday life but, over the years, he has adjusted to it. This determined young man has committed to overcome his physical challenges and look to his abilities — not to his disability — in order to assist his family in pulling themselves out of poverty and improving their living standards.

During his daily attendance at a Mercy Corps-sponsored local sports club for people with disabilities (PWDs), Hassan heard about some upcoming projects that Mercy Corps was about to implement around the community, including the construction of a computer lab. He looked to this particular project as a glimpse of hope for him to improve his knowledge — and increase his opportunities — to get a new job and help his family. When the lab was completed, he took advantage of every training course he could to build up his knowledge and marketable skills.

With these new skills and confidence, Hassan began applying for many vacancies. He recently gave us the good news that he has been interviewed and will sign his first contract to work in data entry for a local contracting company in Nassirya city!

Hassan told me how much he appreciated Mercy Corps for its support and providing such opportunities to develop the technology in his town. "It's given me the chance to open the new life door," he said.