by Sanaa Kamal
GAZA, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Inside his small workshop in Gaza, hearing impaired Fakher Hamad spends hours tinkering recycled scrap metals into delicate sculptures and furniture of all sizes.
Mini sculptures of motorbikes, snakes, scorpions, and dolls, as well as life-size carriages, are among the creations Hamad took pride in.
"I came up with the idea a year ago when the heavy fighting between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza brought many buildings to rubbles," the 35-year-old man told Xinhua, with his assistant translating the sign language.
Fearing that the unattended scrap metals would injure those children playing outdoor and contaminate the environment, he began to recycle and repurpose them into metal artworks.
"I collected the waste metal from my destructed place at first, and I realized that I can produce a motorbike just in four hours," the man recalled.
The young blacksmith said in the beginning he was working with his brother only, but as they started to make a name in the profession, people are coming with all sorts of scrap metals from their damaged houses.
Now he hires seven workers at a salary of about 250 U.S. dollars, and the workshop still lacked enough metal slotting machines and cutting or welding tools, he said.
"Some people think that we can't make it big, but this business helps us keep our families afloat."
His brother Khamis Hamad told Xinhua that they are proud of their craftsmanship since it encourages the locals to focus on the bright side of life in whatever conditions.
Mohammed al-Helo, a local customer, told Xinhua that "Fakher can make anything you asked for, even if you would like to make a small figurine of yourself."
While Faker aspired to participate in exhibitions abroad for potential sponsorship, al-Helo said local authorities should consider supporting their creative projects.
In Gaza, there are about 49,000 persons with disabilities, or 2.4 percent of the total population, according to official statistics.
"The real disability is not in the body, but it exists in the mind," said Fakher, adding "people with disabilities are able to live their lives, and be creative in their professional fields as well." ■