Inclusion of disabled persons into the society is an urgent priority in the Middle East. Civil society and disabled people’s organizations are key players in the rehabilitation sector. With its regional programme for comunity based rehabilitation, Diakonia plays an important role.
Diakonia's supports rehabilitation for more than 20 years
The start of Diakonia's and The Norwegian Association of Disabled's rehabilitation programme dates back to the beginning of 1990s when support was provided to institutional medical rehabilitation service.
Since then, the programme has developed to comprise four main components:
- Community Based Rehabilitation Programme (CBRP)
- Referral service provision component - provides a resource for supporting comunity based rehabilitation as well as disseminating knowledge and educating community workers from organizations, who are in direct contact with disabled persons and their families
- Empowerment of self organized groups of disabled people organizations
- Regional cooperation: Sharing our experiences with other organizations in the region is of high priority, as the success of the Palestine comunity based rehabilitation model will help changing stereotypes about disability and setting up structures that will improve the life quality of the disabled.
Important to empower the disabled
The aim of the Community Based Rehabilitation Programme is to:
- Empower the disabled people: Empowering the disabled to fight for their own rights, to advocate towards and influence decision and policy makers to benefit and help themselves is the key idea behind the self-organized groups of disabled people component.
- Challenge factors that exclude participation of disabled in the society
- Advocate for change towards the government: Bearing in mind the unstable situation and lack of peace in Palestine, it is not difficult to grasp why the Law of Disability years after it has been endorsed is still not implemented. With advocacy Diakonia and its partners strive to highlight the need for implementation of the law.
Increased participation in society
After years of being voiceless, the disabled themselves have started challenging stereotypes that had been created about them.
Since the programme was initiated there has been a significant increase in the number of persons with disabilities that participate in local decision-making as well as in leadership roles.
It is only in the past ten years that the tide has slowly started to turn and more people with disabilities are seen in public life and on streets of Palestinian cities. Even though Diakonia’s rehabilitation programme has been running for many years, we feel that the struggle for the rights of the disabled people is still in its early bloom.
Performance during the summer camp in Hebron, Palestine. Community Based Rehabilitation organised 26 inclusive summer camps in the West Bank and Gaza. Around 4,000 children took part and approximetely 29 percent of them were children with disabilities.
Stories of change
Being a person with disability has never been easy in any society in the world. In Palestine, however, this seems to be exceedingly difficult.
Meet the 18 year old Alaa’ Ghneimat from Beit Jalla. 13 years after an accident that almost ended her life, she is a charming young woman beaming with self-confidence and bursting with life.
Meet also Ola Abu Al-Ghaib who was was kept at home after a surgery because her parents couldn’t afford to adjust their apartment to Ola’s new needs and also felt slightly ashamed to let her out. After three years, Ola decided that it is up to her to change her situation. She moved from Ramallah to Bethlehem and went back to school despite her parents’ opposition.
Speaking out - from within silence
In December 2011 a unique cultural event took place in Ramallah. People with different disabilities had invited 700 key individuals to a show with dance, theatre and music. In focus: The claim for freedom and inclusion. From within the silence