A sign language interpreter gestures as hearing-impaired Palestinian women learn to make animation films, in the central Gaza Strip March 18, 2021. Picture taken March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
A group of Palestinian women with hearing loss are using stop motion animation to make short films to teach children about their condition.
The eight women say they have few career options and hope animation will also become a source of income as well as an advocacy tool.
They have already made two short films – one about sign language and another advocating their right to work in Gaza, where unemployment stands at 49 percent. The stories, they say, are meant to inspire hearing-impaired people to pursue their own goals despite any obstacles in their way.
The animation process is simple: the women design characters, draw the images on paper, shoot the film with their cellphone cameras using a stop motion application, and coworkers without hearing loss add the voices.
Hiba Abu Jazar, 27, who has enjoyed cartoons since she was a girl, said she was excited to make her own films and to teach others to do the same. She hopes the skill will help her find employment.
“I want to be self-dependent and make films so I can make an income. People with hearing disabilities have no jobs and no chances of finding jobs,” Abu Jazar said in sign language through a translator at Gaza Hemam Youth Center where the training takes place.
The group’s trainer, Haneen Koraz, said the project offered the woman a way to promote their cause and pursue their ambitions through art and creativity.