The first national conference for youth with disabilities in Palestine
The first National Conference for Youth with disabilities was held in Ramallah in December 2017. The aim was to activate the role of youth with disability and empower them to make a positive change in society in relation to their needs. And several advances were made.
The conference was held under the slogan "I am a part", within the project "Towards active youth with disability bringing positive change in the West Bank". A project which is being implemented by the Palestinian Vision Organization “Palvision” with the support of Diakonia and NAD and in cooperation with the Community Based Rehabilitation Programs and the General Union of Persons with disability in the West Bank.
Focus on accessibility
Most of the conference sessions focused on issues of accessibility and the need to support the integration of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life.
The project started in May 2017 when 75 young males and females with disabilities were trained in: the rights of persons with disabilities, international conventions, management of campaigns and life skills. Following these trainings, a group of the motivated young Palestinians with disabilities formed a committee to organize the first national conference. The group examined the needs of young people with disabilities and agreed upon the priority issues that should be discussed during the conference.
Advances were made
On December 5th, over 150 young persons with disabilities from all over the West Bank attended the conference in coordination with the Community based Rehabilitation programs in the West Bank and the General Union of Persons with Disability.
During the conference, the General Personnel Council - Minister Dr. Moussa Abu Zeid, promised to introduce the accessibility issue in the Council of Ministers to activate it and also promised to employ a person with knowledge in sign-language in each ministry, a person who can deal with persons with disability.
Ms. Layali Mikdadi who represented the Ministry of Local Governance at the conference promised to put pressure on the local authorities to make the new buildings accessible and try to rehabilitate the old ones in addition to public places to be appropriate for the use of persons with disability. Ms. Amal Tolsok, from the Engineers Association, promised to follow up the engineering plans with the municipalities to ensure the implementation of schemes that take into consideration the accessibility issue.
Following a speech by Mr. Muhannad Al-Shafe’i, a member of the preparatory committee for the conference who shed the light on the needs of the persons with disability; Mr. Hazem Al-Qawasmeh from the Municipal Development and Lending Fund (MCFD) has encouraged and promised to fund all municipalities that consider accessibility within their projects.
Before the end of the conference, a deaf dance group who are members of the Total Communication School at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society performed a Dabkeh. This successful event ended up with elections of a committee of young motivated persons with disability to follow up the recommendations and outcomes of the conference.