Meteal Kawar 1889-1992: The first accredited Palestinian blind woman physiotherapist

Meteal Kawar 1992 – 1889: The first accredited Palestinian blind woman physiotherapist

The Palestinian, Meteal Kawar, born 1889, the first Palestinian woman accredited as a physiotherapist in modern Arab history was blind

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Meteal Kawar 1992 – 1889: The first accredited Palestinian blind woman physiotherapist 

By Iqbal Tamimi

The fact that she was blind did not hinder her from helping her community. She was one of the founders of the House for Blind Girls that served Palestine and Jordan blind girls.

Meteal Kawar was born in the north of Palestine at the city of Nazerath, and lived most of her life in Jerusalem where she studied at private institutions, until she was adopted by an American family that took her to USA where she continued her higher education and MA degree in the field of Social counselling at the University of Illinois, graduating in the year 1924. 

Then she joined Boston University and graduated 1928 in the field of physiotherapy.

Meteal moved back to Palestine and started working at the English Hospital in Jerusalem, while at the same time she was running the ‘School for Blind Girls’ until the year 1948, when she decided to open her own private clinic in Beit Hanina, a city at the outskirts of Jerusalem. She moved to a house made of two rooms, in one room she used to examine and treat her patients, while living in the second room.

Because her patients were mainly poor people, they could not afford to pay her in money. They used to cover the cost of treatment in baskets of eggs and pieces of cloth material, which she would sell in her turn to cover the rent fee and her daily needs.

In her old age, she moved to the city Haifa where she died. She was buried in the Roman Orthodox Cemetery leaving behind an institution that continues to operate until this day.

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