Salwa Abu Shaaban is a 21-year-old student from Gaza City who aspires to become an international equestrian trainer.
“I want to participate in jumping championships with local participation inside and outside Palestine,” Salwa told The Palestine Chronicle.
Salwa is a graphic design student at Al-Azhar University, in Gaza. She enjoys her studies, but her greatest passion is her work as a professional trainer for horse riders.
She has been practicing horse riding for seven years before obtaining a certificate that made her the first female trainer in the Gaza Strip.
Now, Salwa works as a trainer at the Al-Jawad Horse Club. Her dream is that her love for horses and for this sport will be shared by more and more people, especially women, in the future.
Gaza is always perceived as a traditional society where it is not so common for girls to practice hobbies such as sports and music. In Salwa’s case, however, it was her family that encouraged her to pursue her passion.
“My father is my first supporter as he used to bring us to the club to ride horses since we were children,” Abu Shaaban told The Palestine Chronicle.
“Many people in Gaza consider the sea as a refuge. For me, it has always been the club. When I am around horses, I feel that I can express all of my feelings.”
(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)
– Mahmoud Ajjour is a Gaza-based photojournalist. He is the Palestine Chronicle’s correspondent in the Gaza Strip.