Issam's Journey: From Shyness to Empowerment and Success


Issam is a 17-year-old boy with a mild intellectual disability residing in Birzeit town, Ramallah.  Living with his parents, two brothers, and two sisters, Issam encountered bullying at school because of his speech impediment and mild cognitive delay, setting him apart from his peers.
At the age of fourteen, Issam embarked on a transformative journey by joining the Vocational Training Program at SMRC. Initially, he was so introverted and shy. He underwent training aimed at enhancing his daily life skills, such as using public transportation, along with vocational skills including assembling electric outlets, soap making from olive oil, car washing, outdoor cleaning, farming, and packaging. Now, he is an active participant in the Preparatory, Training, and Employment Group, geared towards fostering his integration into the community.
Thanks to dedicated rehabilitation efforts and behavioral modification plans, Issam blossomed into a more outgoing individual, eager to participate in various SMRC activities and equipped with the knowledge to protect himself from abuse or exploitation. Notably, he showcased his newfound confidence on the international stage by securing a gold medal in the 100 Meter Run at the Special Olympics held in Germany.
During his training as a customer service assistant at Bravo Supermarket, Issam received glowing commendations from his supervisors. Continuing his quest for personal growth, Issam recently enrolled in a housekeeping course at the Arab Episcopal Center in Ramallah sponsored from the World Lutheran Federation. Demonstrating exceptional dedication and proficiency throughout the 12-session program, he left a lasting impression on assessors. Recognizing his diligence, the opportunity for employment at the Arab Episcopal Center arose. Since March of this year, Issam has been  employed there, actively serving at the guesthouse and center amenities. His journey stands as proof of resilience, encouragement, and the fulfillment of dreams despite adversity.