Ayat Mutair is a 40-year-old hearing-impaired woman from Gaza, who has managed to turn her home project of making desserts into a shop.
Ayat Mutair has finally managed to turn her home project of making desserts into a shop specialized in selling various types of hand-made sweets.
The 40-year-old woman from the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia has done so with the help of her family.
But there is something particularly special about Ayat, aside from her grit and determination. She is a hearing-impaired person.
The term ‘impaired’ does not do the Gaza sweet maker justice, however, as the disability, with time, became an advantage
Aware of the challenges faced by people of her condition in Gaza, Ayat learned to be strong at a very young age.
She was only four when she lost her sense of hearing. But with the support of her loving family, Ayat persisted. She took refuge in cooking, a hobby that became an art, and ultimately led to her own business.
“The family was the most important source of support for me,” Ayat says. They invested in whatever technology would allow her to communicate with ease and constantly communicated with her until it was no longer an issue.
Ayat is a mother of two children. To spend more time with her kids, she started an online store, in 2015, so that she could work from home.
Recently, Ayat felt that she was ready to operate an actual physical space of her own outside the home; so, she opened a shop.
The initial investment for the shop came from an international charity that invests in empowering young entrepreneurs in Gaza
The irony is that Ayat herself doesn’t like sweets. She says that she simply enjoys watching people eating her carefully crafted desserts
Her products have attracted a good crowd even though the shop is only a few days old. The reason behind this, we are told, is that many of the items sold at her shop are unique, as in her own inventions and recipes that cannot be found elsewhere.
Having any form of disability in Gaza is not easy, Ayat says. It is hard for people with her condition to be easily integrated into society, according to Ayat.
Though her success story is enough to change the perception that some people hold towards the hearing-impaired, it is just not enough.
While unemployment is very high in Gaza due to the Israeli blockade, for people with disabilities it is much higher. This needs to change, Ayat says.
(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)