Reaching ‘freedom:’ Palestinian amputees climb Kilimanjaro

The top of Kilimanjaro is called Uhuru Peak, which in Swahili means “freedom.” The Palestinians raised more than $100,000

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Two Palestinian teenagers have become the first Arab amputees to reach Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak in a campaign to collect funds and shed light on difficulties faced by children brought up in the Middle East’s war-torn countries.

Mutussam Abu Karsh and Yasmeen Najjar managed to raise more than $100,000 to provide medical care for war victims through the (PCRF).

The PCRF provided the climbers with prosthetic limbs to make the journey, after each one lost a leg due to unrest in the Palestinian territories.

Mutussam, 16, it was only during the 5,895 meter climb up Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro that he felt “free.”

“It’s the first time that I have felt truly free – no walls, no borders, no checkpoints and soldiers,” he said, according to the Dubai-based newspaper 7Days.

Mutussam lost his leg when he was only seven, after a tank shell burst near him in the Gaza Strip.

“The top of Kilimanjaro is called Uhuru Peak, which in Swahili means ‘Freedom’ and for me, reaching the top gave me, as a Palestinian from Gaza, the feeling of freedom for the first time,” he added.

Yasmeen, 17, said the trip was to give hope to, and inspire, Palestinian children.

“I want to show other kids like me that they can do anything that they put their minds to,” she said.

Yasmeen lost her leg when she was three-years old, after a bus crashed into her home located in the West Bank village of Boreen.

“There is no obstacle too great or mountain too high that you cannot overcome if you put your mind to it. I hope that what Mutussam and I did shows that kids can do anything if given the chance, even climb the highest mountains,” Yasmeen added.

The trip to Kilimanjaro, dubbed as “the Climb of Hope,” was organized by Palestinian mountain climber Suzanne al-Houlby, who was the first Arab woman to reach the peak of Mount Everest in 2011.

“To see them believe in themselves and realize their potential is why I decided to do this in the first place. We need hope, and this whole project is about hope and a better tomorrow,” al-Houlby told the 7Days.

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