During the school holidays, one of the volunteers at the community center decided to bring her son, Haythem*, along. Haythem very quickly became friends with Leith*, a young boy who has a condition that causes his muscles to weaken over time.
Week after week the two boys played together, and they naturally started forming a friendship. Many times, Haythem was helping Leith with physical and educational activities. He was challenging and encouraging Leith - but most importantly he was just accepting Leith for being Leith.
The volunteers started to observe how this new friendship gradually affected Leith. He started smiling more, his beautiful brown eyes, usually guarded, now shining mischievously and with more confidence.
One day in particular stood out in the mind of the staff. Suddenly they heard the hallway of the community center being filled with great roars of laughter and cheering. Leith and Haythem had formed a team and they were now playing against two other boys, throwing and kicking balls and using their wheelchairs, competing to see who would win.
“It reminded me of Neil Armstrong’s saying, 'One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind'. The joy and the friendship of these two boys, one having a disability and the other not, is one small step. But we consider it one of the small steps that can hopefully start a giant leap in the direction of building an inclusive community,” said the manager of the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Project.