Finished Projects

Empowering People with Disabilities to Claim their Rights and Entitlements

Empowering People with Disabilities to Claim their Rights and Entitlements

“Empowering People with Disabilities to Claim their Rights and Entitlements”

Center for Development Studies In Cooperation with Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)

The project is funded by DfID CSCF

Aims and Objectives

The project aims to empower  People with Disabilities (PWD)  to become key agents of change within their communities, enabling them to effectively self advocate using national and international legal frameworks and Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) practice guidelines. Specifically to lobby and support local government and Civil Society Organizations (CSO)  in how to adopt and implement accessible and inclusive standards of practice, creating positive examples of successful inclusion which can be used to influence change at a national level. 

Project Duration: 3.5 years

Expected Outputs

·         PWDs in targeted areas of the oPt will be supported to know their rights and entitlements under Palestinian and international legislation as well as how to best claim them. This group will be an ongoing resource to train and influence change in practice and awareness of disability rights within the family, community and development organizations in their districts.

·         Community based organizations, governmental and nongovernmental, will have the knowledge, awareness and confidence to include PWDs within their planning, implementation and evaluation of development programmes and activities.

·         Increased access to disability information, training, resource materials and research  produced and developed  by and with PWDs to act as an evidence base to influence  policy and practice at local and national level; lessons from which will also be shared further   a field.

Project Documents:

First Learning Report: The report documents the results and analysis of the project activities and field work carried out between September 2010 and January 2012. This includes: Survey of Organizations, Household Survey, Project Trainings, and Learning Workshops. 

Learning 1 Report

Birzeit University Center for Development Studies – In partnership with Medical Aid for Palestinians, funded by UKAID

Prepared by: Imad Sayrafi, Shatha Abu Srour, Arhaf Zanateet

Table of Contents

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………….3

Project Areas…………………………………………………………………………………5

Methodology of Field Work…………………………………………………………………6

Analysis of Findings………………………………………………………………………..13

Trainings on disability frameworks, rights, and community mobilization…………………26

Annex (1) Results of Organization Survey…………………………………………………38

Annex (2) Main Results of Household Survey……………………………………………..41

Annex (3) Main Results of Focus Groups………………………………………………….50

Annex (4) The  Palestinian Law for the Rights of PWD (1999)……………………………56

Introduction about the project

The project Empowering People with Disabilities to Claim their Rights and Entitlements, which began on September, 2010;  aims to empower  People with Disabilities (PWD)  to become key agents of change within their communities, enabling them to effectively self advocate using national and international legal frameworks and Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) practice guidelines. Specifically to lobby and support local government and Civil Society Organizations (CSO)  in how to adopt and implement accessible and inclusive standards of practice, creating positive examples of successful inclusion which can be used to influence change at a national level. 

            The project is being implemented by the Center for Development Studies- Birzeit University, in partnership with Medical Aid for Palestinians (UK), over a duration of three and a half years. The project is considered the first of its kind in Palestine, through dealing with the issue of disability within an academic, community, and developmental framework. It aims to create an active example in dealing with disability and its details; in order to create a larger change in the disability movement and improve the reality of people with disabilities through a rights based movement.

The project preparations and first stages aim to formulate a true picture of the reality of people with disabilities through numerous field activities. This stage of the project aimed to design a database that can be a reference for the team while implementing other stages of the project, aiming to give the project more ability to respond to the needs expressed in the field. The obtained information, is used within the project through training a core group of people with disabilities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in field work skills, activism, advocacy, and community mobilization.

            The field work included a mapping of organizations in the project areas, a household survey targeting people with disabilities, and in depth focus groups with people with disabilities and other relevant groups and stakeholders.  After gathering the data the project team proceeded to implement trainings for PWD, and community activists; dealing with disability laws and frameworks, in addition to community mobilization and advocacy. The findings of the project, in addition to the methodologies used, and the implementation in general are discussed with relevant stakeholders through learning workshops aiming to incorporate this feedback into the project and its findings.

Steering Committee:

The project is supported by a steering committee made up of representatives of CDS, MAP, the project team, and experts in the field of disability who have an experience with disability. The committee meets once every 3 months to review progress of the project, and discuss future activities. The committees role is important as it enables the project team to make use of diverse experiences in the field of disability, and incorporate them into the project;  this, in addition to the views and assessments’ of PWD in the project areas, provide ongoing feedback and opportunities for self assessment and changes to the project as necessary to address  the needs and reality of people on the ground.

Disability advisers and trainers (DATS)

The project aims to be an empowering opportunity to its employees who are youth with and without disability. In fact, “nothing about us without us“ is one of the most important basics and perceptions in the project. When the position of the disability advisers and trainers in both West Bank and Gaza strip was specified to be taken by qualified people with disability, taking into consideration all the reasonable adjustments which needed for them to implement their work fully, effectively and, independently.

DET Trainings

As part of the project, the project team offers Disability Equality Trainings to institutions, organizations, and interested persons or groups, which is considered the first of its kind, based on two main principles : redefining disability according to the social model and, disability is human-rights issue. It aims to challenge the prejudiced attitudes towards people with disability among different groups, to enforce equal participation for people with disability in all programs and policies and, to raise awareness on issues related to disability, such as : disability definitions and different models, the major types of discrimination, disability from a human-rights perspective, language and terminology, disability etiquette…etc. The training is tailored to each group’s\organization’s needs and is a continuous effort in the project. The trainings were also given to all members of the project team, and MAP and CDS staff,  before beginning the implementation of the project.  This provides an ongoing opportunity for raising awareness on issues related to disability in the community, and provides a networking opportunity for the project as well. These trainings, are not restricted to the project areas, and are given upon request. Furthermore, the trainings are held and facilitated by people with disability themselves who work or involved in the project.

Project Areas

The project  targets 4 areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Rafah area in Southern Gaza, Beit Hanun area in Northern Gaza, Jenin area in the Northern West Bank, and Dura area in the Southern West Bank. In each area 3 clusters are targeted; 1 urban site, 1 rural site, and 1 refugee camp site. The choice of the clusters (urban, rural, camp) was  chosen according to each area, and taking into consideration the geographic proximity for purposes of the project; and ability for the participants to travel between the areas within one district. The project team has discussed possible areas and decided on the following:

Camp Rural Urban Region
Jabalya Im Nasr Beit Hanun North Gaza
Rafah Al Nasr Rafah South Gaza
Jenin Camp Sanour Qabatya North West Bank
Al Fawar Khursa Dura South West Bank

Field Work Methodology

The field work stage includes a number of activities tailored to assess the situation of PWD in the project areas, and identify main barriers in these communities; this helps the project’s later stages be better suited towards creating positive interventions that target these barriers, aiming to create positive examples for activism and advocacy for disability rights. These activities include a mapping of organization in the project areas, a household survey targeting PWD in these areas, and in depth focus groups with PWD, stakeholders, and community members to help further identify barriers and assess the reality on the ground. Furthermore, the methodologies used are assessed and analyzed by PWD, and stakeholders in the community through learning workshops that aim to assess the impact of project activities.

Organization Mapping

The aim of the institution mapping was to build a database of community organizations working in the project areas, and probe the areas of their work and target groups, in addition to their interest in working and getting involved in the issue of disability. This would be helpful in the later stages of the project, as this data will be available to people with disabilities working within the project.  Later in the project, the core cadre of PWD (referred to as Community Disability Awareness Trainers – CDATs) are trained through different stages on disability models, rights and legal frameworks, community mobilization, and field work skills. Furthermore, the CDATS then proceed to implement a second mapping of community organizations in their areas, aiming to investigate the barriers faced by PWD.

The mapping used a snowballing sampling method using key informants and

field researchers who are locals each area.  A basic questionnaire was developed aiming to gather information related to institutions in the areas, their areas of work, their employees, employed people with disabilities, and interest in working in disability. Furthermore, it was also important to  identify the scope of work of organizations in these areas in general, and the types of disability related projects that are being implemented in these areas.

Indicators:

The main goal of the mapping is to gather information regarding institutions working in the project areas; and thus a number of indicators were defined as important for the project, and for studying the project areas:

  • Projects and Programs implemented in the target areas.
  • Projects and Programs related to disability in the target areas.
  • Projects and programs that include people with disability in the project’s areas.
  • Challenges and barriers that face institutions regarding working in disability and challenges towards the mainstreaming of the issue of disability.
  • Employment of people with disabilities in these institutions.

Questionnaire:

The questionnaire was developed in order to address the indicators that the project team defined in addition to other aspects of the institution’s work. The questions aimed to have a picture of the nature of the organizations, their work, interests and goals, programs, projects, policies, target groups, geographical scope of work, number of employees, employees with disabilities, relationship with other institutions, and information related to disability projects and challenges. This information is for later use in the project, and enabling PWD who will work in the project to have a clearer picture of institutions in their areas in general, as the project also aims to mainstream the issue of disability as a cross sector issue.

Household Survey:

            The survey targeted 600 households with people with disabilities in the project areas and the field work was carried out in January, 2011- with the questionnaire being addressed directly to the person with disability him/herself, with the use of mediators in some cases; such as sign language translators for people with hearing difficulties, or the parents in the case of learning and communication difficulties. The survey targeted people with disabilities between ages 15 and 35. In addition, the survey aimed to target 50% females and 50% males with disabilities. The survey also targeted other members in the family who have disabilities if they met the age requirements.  Furthermore, the questionnaires are divided in each region to: 70 in the urban areas, 50 in refugee camps, and 30 in rural areas, reflecting population figures of the different types of localities.

Sample Size:

The survey targeted 600 households in total, 150 for each region: North West Bank, South West Bank, North Gaza Strip, South Gaza Strip

Population Figures
Urban Rural Camp
North Gaza Strip
Beit Hanun 38,047 Im al Nasr 2,811 Jabalya 41,933
South Gaza Strip
Rafah 121,774 Al Nasr 6,308 Rafah 34,558
North West Bank
Qabatya 19,197 Sanour 4,067 Jenin Camp 10,371
South West Bank
Dura 28,868 Khursa 3,440 Al Fawwar 6,544
 

Disability Indicators and Screening Questions:

A number of indicators for screening disability were used for the survey based on CDS’s experience in disability research, the needs of the project, the goals of the survey,

Furthermore the survey makes use of the activity limitation and participation models to assess the degree of participation of people with disabilities in the community and the daily life activities. The models used are drawn from CDS’s prior experience, and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and domains suggested by the Washington Group for screening disability from that model; such as the “Activity Limitation and Participation Restriction Matrix”, adapted to the local context and the needs of the survey.  The ICF represents a classification system developed by the World Health Organization, aiming to create a more comprehensive tool for dealing with disability, and creating standardized classifications for international use.

Indicators

  • General Background
  • Disability Screening
  • Information and perceptions of local services, and laws
  • Activity limitations and Participation
  • Barriers to accessing services
    • Education
    • Health
    • Work
    • Social and Civil
    • Empowerment and access to information on the rights and, the legal services
    • The motivation among the target group in the household survey in being involved in empowering projects and, disability movement.

The Questionnaire

The project team developed a questionnaire that dealt with the types and degrees of difficulties in performing basic daily life functions, and the ability of the respondent to carry out a number of activities without assistive devices or personal assistants. Besides, it explored the respondents’ access to and, awareness on needed assistive devices. In addition, it questioned the reasons of the difficulties the respondents have. Furthermore, the questionnaire focused on identifying barriers and participation in a number of main domains: health and rehabilitation, education, labor market, social and civil life, empowerment and rights, in addition to probing the respondent’s interest in lobbying and advocacy and his interest in participation in future lobbying and advocacy activities. Additionally, the questionnaire was designed to focus on exploring the influence of the environmental, physical, attitudinal and, institutional barriers on the respondents’’ access to services and rights.

Furthermore, the team has designed a guide for field researchers related to field work, and dealing with the questionnaire in the field, in addition to a number of concepts related to disability. Furthermore a training, including DET, was carried out targeting 14 field workers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip dealing with the concept of disability from the project’s viewpoint, and how best to communicate with the target group within a positive framework to create a positive environment and realistic response.

            The project team has gathered lists of people with disabilities in the project areas which were provided by a number of institutions and community organizations working in the project areas. However, researchers were not provided with these lists, aiming to reach people who were not targeted by these institutions. Researchers have used information from some institutions, village councils, and known locals in the areas, in addition to the snowballing methods. In some cases, where they found difficulty reaching people, the project team had provided them with information related to a person of disability from the available lists, but this was kept as a last resort.

In Depth – Focus Groups

As the mapping of institutions, and household survey were the first steps in the beginning of this project, and aim to investigate the reality of people with disabilities, their lives, rights, barriers they face. This however, does not give us all the  needed information for the project.  There is a need for the project team to have in depth discussions with different groups in the targeted areas, including people with disabilities from different age groups, relevant stakeholders, and other groups relevant to the project.

Accordingly, the project team held twenty four focus group in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in total, in the month of February, 2011. In the different project districts, with six focus groups held in each district, targeting:  persons with disability of different age groups, parents of persons with disability, local advisory groups-local advocates, civil society\community organizations, and community members.

Focus groups’ objectives

  • To gather as much information as possible about the  needs and priorities among people with disability, this will provide the project team with the needed information, to prepare for the trainings based on the needs of the community.
  • To analyze capacities and gather the information regarding the ability to achieve real change in the disability community,  and analyzing the impact of the disability movement in the targeted areas.
  • To identify the challenges and the opportunities regarding the relationship between persons with disability and other groups and organizations in the society.
  • To build networks between the project’s team and different groups and organizations at the local level.

Focus groups’ specific objectives

  1. People with disability focus groups

Three focus groups were conducted in each of the project’s 4 districts with people with disability, taking into consideration the full representation of different areas, types of functional difficulties/disabilities, and PWD who are members in organizations and PWD  who are not.  The focus groups were divided into different age groups. One of these focus groups targeted PWD aged between 15 to 35 and, another focus group targeted PWD aged above 35, while another focus group targeted children with disabilities aged 6-14.

The objectives

  • To discuss the outputs of the households survey, specifically results related to challenges and obstacles facing people with disabilities’  inclusion and participation. This helps the project team with formulating a more in depth analysis of the reality.
  • To identify priorities and needs for people with disabilities, that can enable them to fully participate in the project.
  • To test the relationship between age and the participation process, needs and priorities.
  • To build deeper understanding on the disability community in the project’s areas.
  • Parents of people with disability focus groups

One focus group targeting parents of people with disability was conducted in each of the project’s 4 district. They were selected representatively from the gathered data from the household survey.

Parents of people with disability focus groups’ objectives

  • To discuss results related to parents’ negative and positive interventions in people with disabilities lives in the household survey.
  • To highlight the importance of people with disabilities’ full inclusion and participation in the society on an equal basis with others.
  • To explore parents’ attitudes towards organizations and projects that work on disability and, with people with disability.
  • Local activists’ focus groups

The local activist focus groups’ members were selected from the mapping of organizations and household survey data. As activists are seen as potential allies that can help the project team and PWD in the field during the project’s activities. There was one local activist focus group conducted in each of the project’s 4 districts.

The local activist focus groups’ objectives

  • To introduce the participants to the project’s objectives, expectations and stages.
  • To discuss the challenges, obstacles and fears regarding the implementation of the project in the field, based on the data and the project team’s point of view.
  • To explore interest and motivation towards facilitating the implementation of the project in the field.
  • To identify the participants’ role in the project.
  • Community Members, Focus Groups

In order to be able to understand the main barriers facing PWD, the attitudes of the society, and the degree of inclusion within the community; one  focus group were held in each region with members from the community. This was held in all regions, except for the Northern West Bank, where a focus group was held with organizations instead.

The community members represent a diversity of members in the community; business owners, drivers, service providers, etc.

Community Members Focus Groups’ objectives:

  • To explore the community members’ attitudes towards people with disability.
  • To understand challenges and obstacles those groups face during their communication process with people with disability.
  • To identify community members’ suggestions to overcome challenges and barriers that affect people with disability benefit from those members’ services on an equal basis with others.
  • To explore interest in cooperation in achieving project goals.

Analysis of Findings of Baseline Mapping Activities (See Annex for Main Findings)

Due to the project’s aim for positive intervention based on the exact reality of people with disability on the ground, it becomes necessary to interpret the data  to be able to plan for the project’s later stages to be in line with people’s needs and priorities linked in with the project’s objectives and perspectives.

The aim is to attempt to understand the reality and experience of people with disability on the ground, the nature of their interaction with the community, and main barriers towards living their lives in equality with other members of the community.

This project adopts the social model and a rights based approach linked with the developmental perspective towards dealing with the issue of disability. In this light, disability is an issue of negative interaction between the person who has a difficulty (impairment), and the attitudinal, environmental, and institutional barriers in the society which limit the access to services and rights on an equal basis with others.

“Recognizing that disability is an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others,”

Preamble, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability – 2006

The project uses the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability – 2006, and the new CBR guidelines; which view the rights of PWD as inseparable from human rights, and enforce the role of the person with disability in controlling his/her own life while taking into consideration the individual differences and the needed reasonable adjustments in policies and practices. 

Reaffirming the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and the need for persons with disabilities to be guaranteed their full enjoyment without discrimination”

Preamble, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability – 2006

There is no documentation available for the experience of previous disability movements in the Palestinian territories. In an interview held on January 16th, 2010 with Ziad Amr, one of the founders and activists in the Palestinian General Union for PWD he discussed the experience of the Palestinian disability rights movement which began in the early 1990’s.  The Palestinian law for the rights of PWD came as a result of lobbying and advocacy campaigns and, demands of the rights movement of PWD in Palestine in the early 1990’s, represented and led by the Palestinian General Union for PWD which was established in 1991 by a group of Palestinian activists with disability.  When it’s important to mention that the movement hadn’t aimed to have a specific law pertaining to PWD, but aimed to bring the issue of disability as a priority  for decision makers.  In 1998, this movement prepared a draft for an accessibility law for public places; however, the legislative council had pressured this movement to work towards a law pertaining to PWD. The movement, at that time, wasn’t fully aware of the importance of dealing with the articles of the law from the concept of rights. In addition, there was a weakness in accessing and influencing decision makers towards adopting the draft that was more in line with the ambitions of the disability movement at that time.  All these factors, contributed to a Palestinian law for the rights of PWD which is built on a medical model of disability. The law defines the person with disability as:

“Any individual suffering from a permanent partial or total impairment whether congenital or not in his/her senses or in his/her physical, psychological, or mental capabilities to the extent that it restricts the fulfillment of his/her normal living requirements in a manner not usually faced by those without disabilities.”

The Palestinian Law for the Rights of PWD (1999) No. 4. Definitions

 This definition focuses on the person’s impairment, instead of the interaction between the person and the environment with all its elements. This would enforce exclusive policies and practices in official and unofficial levels.  In addition, it would enforce the charity and the medical based models and approaches in dealing with the issue of disability at the institutional and the social dimensions.

The  Palestinian law for the rights of PWD for 1999 No. 4, article 2; states that the PWD has a right to live freely and in dignity, and enjoy the same rights and duties as another person to the best of his ability; and that a person’s disability cannot be a reason to limit his access to these rights.  In this article, even though the law discusses the right of a PWD to live freely and in dignity, the use of the term “to the best of his ability” again reinforces a medical perspective on disability.

In that light, the analysis explores the physical, attitudinal, and institutional barriers facing PWD to access different essential services and rights in an attempt to compare disability in laws and legislation and reality on the ground. Furthermore, we attempt to explore the awareness of PWD regarding rights and laws pertaining to disability.

Throughout the field work activities, main domains of life were identified as a starting point to be able to identify barriers. These domains were chosen as they are inclusive of the main basic rights and the main domains for which daily activities fall into. Participation or barriers towards participation in these domains, can give us an understanding of the degree of the degree of marginalization facing people with disabilities as a group, through identifying prevalent trends in the communities. Besides, it presents realistic indicators on the PWDS’ access to the needed assistive devices and reasonable accommodations for them to participate in their community equally and independently. When the Palestinian Disablility Rights Law states that the person with disability has the right to receive those services and rights. The disabled persons’ card is a card that specifies the group of services which disabled person with disability is entitled to receive through an organized program.

Main Domains: Health Services, Education, Employment, Social Life, Rights and Empowerment, differences in different types of localities, differences in relation to gender, differences in areas, differences between different types of disabilities, families of PWD.

Participation in Daily Activities:

As the project aims not to deal with disability from a medical perspective and types of disability. The questionnaire probed the person’s perception of his own functionality/difficulty, related to the difficulty in undertaking activities..

Thus, Before viewing the issue of accessing services, it was noted that people with disabilities have considerable difficulties in daily activities which are essential to live independently. It was apparent in the household survey results, that most of the respondents have reported difficulty in carrying out some main daily activities independently and without the use of assistive devices, such as the ability to prepare meals, do house chores, shopping, and self care.  Furthermore, it is also important to note that around half of all of the respondents are not able to read or write at all. This was prevalent among all types of difficulties. However, people with hearing difficulties in addition to people with difficulty in moving and people with difficulty in concentration/remembering have more difficulty in reading and writing.  This can be attributed to a number of reasons; negative attitudes towards PWD, inaccessibility of educational institutions, expensive or unavailability of specialized education, and familial barriers.  This was expressed by many respondents in the household survey and was highest among people with difficulties in concentration (Over  80%). Many of the PWD targeted, stopped their education earlier than they would have wanted, or faced barriers within education related to them as persons with disability. Furthermore, around half of people of all disabilities found difficulty in using transportation in general, doing house chores, shopping, and self care.  Thus this shows that there are barriers facing people with disabilities with regard to main daily activities which are essential towards living independently. This begins in the person’s home, even before attempting to access any service, which is apparent in the difficulty faced in preparing food, doing house chores, and self care. When those kinds of barriers reflect weak performance by CBR workers in the areas targeted and, lack of awareness on the role of workers in this program. As a result, most of the respondents expressed that they do not need the services offered by CBR workers. Furthermore, in the focus groups held with PWD, and families of PWD; it was seen that many families also are worried, and do not allow their children to live independently;  in addition to the general negative attitude in the society towards PWD, as some families hide the fact that their child is a person with disability. Besides, in the focus groups, the issue of transportation was also seen as a barrier, due to negative attitudes of the drivers some time and refusal to provide transportation to PWD and, the high cost of the transportation . Thus this is another barrier faced by the person prior to even attempting to access a service. In addition, the difficulty in using transportation, is also another issue which prevents PWD from living independently and being mainstreamed fully and effectively in the community.

With regards to the use of assistive devices, most of the people (63.8%) who were targeted in the household survey expressed that they use an assistive device/ person regularly, this is highest among people who have difficulty in moving/climbing the stairs. It is important to note that the most used assistive device/person was a personal assistant/family member (13%). Furthermore, many of the respondents in the survey expressed their need for other assistive devices which are unavailable to them (35.5%). This rate is high among people with visual, hearing, or mobility difficulties (around 50%).

Access to services:

As mentioned earlier, the law states that a person with disability cannot be a reason that limits a person from enjoying his rights in addition to other different articles that address the issue of accessibility, the right to education, rehabilitation, employment,  vocational training..etc; besides, the clarity in article 3 which states that the

“The state shall guarantee the protection of the rights of the disabled and shall facilitate their attainment The Ministry shall coordinate with the competent bodies to prepare an awareness program for the disabled a his/her family, and his/her local environment regarding the rights stipulated in this Law. “

The Palestinian Law for the Rights of PWD (1999) Article 3

Thus, this section tried to explore the different types of barriers a person with disability faces towards accessing services/participating in essential life domains.

Health Services:

The household survey attempted to first identify the need for certain services, and whether a service is needed and inaccessible.  More than 20% of the respondents stated that they need services and have difficulty or are unable to access them; these health services are: specialists, pharmacies, and hospitals. Furthermore, more than 60% of the respondents have stated that they do not need nurses, CBR workers, opticians, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and daycare centers.  When trying to identify the barriers preventing PWD from accessing these services, the results show difficulty on many levels. Financially, more than 80% of the respondents are unable to afford the cost of treatment, and around 70% are unable to afford transportation costs. Furthermore, attitudes towards PWD are also a barrier towards accessing services, as more than 25% have expressed that the attitudes of drivers and service providers are negative towards them. Furthermore, more than 30% of the respondents stated that they are unable to use transportation, communicate with service providers, or find a person to come with them; due to them being a person with disability. To add to that around 38% of respondents stated that buildings of the service providers are inaccessible to them.

In the focus groups held with PWD, and their parents, the same barriers were also identified; inaccessible buildings, high costs of transportation, and high costs of services, in addition to negative attitudes towards them. Furthermore, it was also noted that specialists are needed but are far from the place of residence of many people;  this can be explained further based on the results of the survey, as specialists are more needed in rural areas (48.2% of respondents in rural areas) compared to 31% in urban areas, and 21.4% in camps. Thus there are financial, attitudinal, and institutional barriers preventing PWD from accessing health services.

In this regard, it’s important to mention that according to the Palestinian Disabled Rights Law article 6, people with disability are exempt from fees, costs and taxes related to medical equipments and, public and private transportation means needed to access health services and rehabilitation organizations as well as the educational ones. But, the absence of an organized system and the lack of awareness among people with disability and their parents is disabling the effective and activated implementation process. Besides, there is a big question mark on the percentage of the respondents who expressed that they don’t need the CBR workers. When according to the health component in the new CBR guidelines, it’s stated that:

“CBR programmes support people with disability in attaining their highest possible level of health, working across five key areas: health promotion, prevention, medical care, rehabilitation and assistive devices. When the CBR workers work on facilitating and ensuring people with disability access to health services and rights. Additionally, they are advocates for health services to accommodate the rights of people with disability, by being responsive, community-based and participatory.”

Preamble, Community-Based Rehabilitation Guidelines: Health Component – World Health Organization

Furthermore, the outcomes the new CBR guidelines look forward to achieve a holistic and comprehensive perspective linked with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability approach, considering improving knowledge among people with disability and their family members about their health, activating their participation in achieving good health which leads to their full participation in their communities, the awareness of the health sector on people with disability right to access health services with no discrimination based on disability or other factors, the affordability of the health-care and, the rehabilitation services, the improvement of collaboration across all development sectors.

In this light, it’s clear that the provision of services the existing CBR programs offer is not meeting the approach and the considered outcomes above, in addition, it’s not meeting the needs of people with disability and their family members’ needs on the ground.

Educational Services:

With  regard to access to educational services, it is important to note that around two thirds of the respondents are or have been enrolled in education, with 20% of them enrolled in specialized schools, and around 72% receiving education in regular schools.  However, around half of the respondents have stopped their education sooner than they expected or wanted, in addition  around one third of the respondents have not had a chance to receive education at all.  These results show that there are many PWD who do not have a chance to receive or complete their basic education. We can also find that there is a problem facing people with disabilities’ enrollment in regular schools, as 20% of the respondents have expressed that they have been rejected by school administration. This is important to note as the law guarantees the person’s right to access education regardless of his/her disability. Furthermore, the negative societal attitudes persist towards PWD who are enrolled in education, as more than one third of them have expressed feelings of isolation from their fellow students in school, this feeling of isolation was also present in specialized schools for PWD. These issues were further pointed in the focus groups held with PWD and their parents; it was expressed that many PWD had to stop their education sooner than they expected or wanted, in addition to many parents of children with disabilities who refuse to send their children to educational institutions. Furthermore, the negative views of school administrations were also seen as a barrier which prevents PWD from accessing education. 

 The familial barriers also appear as a problem as around 16% of respondents have stated that their families refused or have not encouraged them to pursue their education. The location of educational institutions, in addition to familiar barriers further plays a role in limiting access to educational institutions. As more than one third of the respondents have expressed that educational services are far from their residence. In addition, a similar number of respondents have expressed that their families are afraid to send them to schools that are far from their residence, this familial attitude was a stronger barrier for females. This also brings up the issue of transportation, as many PWD have found this as a barrier as they are unable to use transportation for a variety of reasons; attitudes of drivers, inaccessibility of transportation, and the financial costs of transportation.

In addition to the barriers identified earlier, we find that many PWD identify more institutional barriers that affect their access to education; it can be seen that many PWD found that the buildings of educational institutions are inaccessible; in addition educational institutions being unable to provide materials in an accessible way to a person with disability/difficulty. Furthermore, many PWD have expressed that there is a lack in qualified cadre with an understanding of the requirements of including or mainstreaming a person with disability.

This was further expressed in the focus groups, as in addition to the inaccessibility of schools, and lack of a qualified cadre, there is a negative attitude in schools towards a person with disability’s right to education, and  that a PWD would affect other students.

“I’m willing to sell my land, and move to another city, if my son can enroll in education there. But even schools in other cities like Bethlehem; refused to accept my son”. A parent with a son with a learning difficulty, parents of PWD focus group, Dura, West Bank.

This kind of situation shows that negative attitudes and rejection among parents of PWDS could be a result of many reasons and, one of them is inaccessibility within  and negativity attitudes prevalent in the  society, In this regard, it’s important to highlight that the issue of education is stated in the Disabled Palestinians Rights Law in chapter two under the title ’responsibilities for providing services’, taking into consideration the equality in attaining educational and training opportunities, the provision of different types and levels of educational services according to the individuals’ needs, the preparation of qualified educators, the provision  of appropriate educational and training curricula and approaches and other suitable facilities and, the provision of  the educational analysis essential for determining the nature of the disability and its extent.

In a short comparison between this law and the UNCRPD, education is recognized as an essential right for PWDS stating equality and inclusion in all levels of education. For that to be achieved, the UNCRPD ensures in all its articles that each right  to be fully enjoyed cannot be separated from other rights, for example, to ensure the right to education and inclusive educational system, the UNCRPD considers

“The full development of human potential and sense of dignity and self-worth, and the strengthening of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human diversity. The development by persons with disabilities of their personality, talents and creativity, as well as their mental and physical abilities, to their fullest potential“.

 UNCRPD, Article 24, Education.

The UNCRPD also considers inclusion with no discrimination on basis of disability for children and adults with disability, the provision of reasonable accommodations that considers the individuals’ requirements to be received by the PWD in the general educational system, enabling PWDS to learn life and social development skills, and the qualifications of the teachers including teachers with disability.

When the UNCRPD is stating specific and appropriate measures that ensure the full implementation for each statement, in the time the Palestinian Disabled Rights Law considers education as a service stated in the same chapter that states the welfare and social system’s article. Besides, this national law in most of its articles is turning many of the fundamental human rights into services, each of them is separated from the other and, there are no measures that regulate the implementation of each of them. In addition, there is no statement in that law that presents the state’s commitment to include PWDs in the general education system.

Employment:

Employment presents another domain that is central to a person’s ability to live independently; besides, it improves the PWD opportunities to control their own lives and to lead productive roles in their society that will avoid them from being objects to charitable practices. Of the respondents targeted in the household survey, only 16% are employed or have been employed in the past; with most of them (67%) being employed or have been employed in the private sector. Furthermore, most of them (91%) have received or are receiving educational services, half of  whom have stopped education at the primary education stage. The Palestinian law, compels Governmental and Non Governmental Organizations to employ persons with disability to be no less than 5% of the staff of that organization The law also states that the work place should be accessible and, PWD should receive vocational trainings on an equal basis with others. In reality, this is far from the truth; as in our survey of organizations working in the areas, cases where PWD where employed in organizations were rare. Furthermore, even projects dealing with PWD do not necessarily employ PWD on those projects as it’s been seen in the institutions’ survey.

Based on the household survey, the barriers identified by PWD that prevent them from accessing employment opportunities are similar to the barriers identified towards accessing educational, and health services. These begin with the person’s own belief that the difficulty he/she faces prevents him from working (52.8%), and a lack of encouragement by the person’s family to find employment (22%).  Furthermore, PWD have found that they lack the suitable skills needed for employment,  or are unable to find work suitable for the skills they have. PWD have also expressed that they are unable to access information related to employment, in addition to employers telling them that their disability would make it difficult for them to work (38% of the respondents). These are alarming attitudinal and institutional barriers that show a general negative attitude towards the employment of PWD, in addition to inaccessibility of information pertaining to jobs.

Furthermore, the issue of difficulty in using transportation also persists, with many of the respondents expressing a difficulty in using transportation in relation to the difficulty they had (32.6%), and the attitudes of drivers towards them as persons with disability (26%).

PWD who are/or have been employed have also expressed that they found workplaces inaccessible(37%), and have faced similar attitudinal barriers with employers telling them that their disability would make it difficult for them to work (37% of those employed).  When this type of barrier will remain as long as the Palestinian Disabled Rights Law has no internal regulations that explain the implementation process of its articles and, has no activated monitoring procedures. Besides, the lack of awareness among PWD themselves in their law as it will be shown in the domain below will lead to more discrimination based on disability among employers.

In the focus groups, different stakeholders including; PWD, parents of PWD, local activists, and community members; have all expressed negative attitudes in society towards employment of PWD, this was seen among parents with disability and affected the attitudes of parents towards the employment of their children. In addition, it had increased their fears and concerns regarding their children future and, it pushes them to believe that their children will always be prisoners in the circles of helplessness. Furthermore, it was also expressed that the job market in the Palestinian context suffers regardless of disability, due to the unavailability of jobs, and widespread favoritism in employment.

Employment in the perspective of the UNCRPD is approached in a holistic vision, as it includes the right to employment for PWD, the right to choose the job wanted, the right to be supported in finding jobs, the right to be protected from slavery and, the right to receive all types of required trainings. In addition, the UNCRPD in article 9 states that accessibility and the right of PWD to access includes the physical environment, transportation, information and communication, which means that adopting this approach and raising awareness on this perspective will cause basic changes on PWDS’ opportunities to access information related to job announcements, labor market and, equal job opportunities.

Participation in Social Life

In addition to the ability to access essential services, we address the access and participation in main social activities which present an important part of a person’s life. These activities included; going out with friends or family to a social location such as a restaurant; participating in social activities such as weddings; travelling to a different city with friends, family, or colleagues;  and visiting friends or relatives. The household survey showed similar results with regards to these activities, with around half of the respondents finding no difficulty participating in these activities. While the other half have expressed that they do not participate in these activities mostly due to difficulty in participating in these activities. 

More than one  third of the respondents have expressed that they are unable to participate at all in certain activities such as; going to a mosque or church, volunteering in community organizations or clubs, membership in community organizations, visiting a sports club, participating in cultural activities, or visiting the municipality or ministries.  Furthermore, more than half of the respondents have expressed that they are unable to travel outside the country or find a large difficulty in doing so.

In viewing the ability to participate in the activities addressed above in relation to the type of difficulty a person expressed; we found that more than two thirds of the people with learning and concentration difficulties face a lot of difficulty or are unable to participate at all in all of the activities addressed above.

With regard to the barriers that limit participation in these social activities, more than half of the respondents expressed that they lack the financial resources to go out and participate in social activities. Again, many of the respondents believed that their health condition prevents them from participating in these activities (63%), when this vision might be formed according to the practices PWDS are subjected to through their life, in addition to a lack of encouragement from the family (36%). Furthermore, respondents also expressed difficulty in finding someone to go with them to these activities (38%). To add to that, PWD (48% of the respondents) have expressed that the attitudes towards them are generally negative and unfriendly, and that they find difficulty (more than one third of the respondents) in using transportation due to the negative attitudes of drivers towards them as a person with disability; these barriers are attitudinal barriers that make it difficult for a person with disability to participate in many social and daily activities. With regard to accessibility, and institutional barriers; around half of the respondents are unable to use transportation due to the difficulty they have; furthermore, around 40% of the respondents found buildings inaccessible; also, 45% expressed the absence of needed facilities that are suitable with the needs of the person. This is important to note, as the activities addressed cover diverse activities; which could lead us to conclude that most buildings in these communities in general are inaccessible.  In the focus groups, people have explained further the reality PWD face towards participation in social activities, beginning with the negative attitudes in society that affect a person’s ability to form social relations and friendships. Furthermore, these attitudes are also among families of people with disabilities who prefer not to take them with them in social activities as a way to avoid people’s reactions and negative interactions. Furthermore, people in the WB and GS have expressed that many PWD are harassed in the streets due to the difficulty they have.       

Rights and Empowerment

With regards to the issue of rights and empowerment, we first attempted to understand the awareness of PWD regarding various laws or organizations that deal with issues pertaining to them and their rights. The results in the survey are alarming in this regard; particularly since more than 75% have expressed that they have not heard of the Palestinian law for the Rights of Person’s with Disability, Palestinian Labor Law, Palestinian Child Law or, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Furthermore, 61% of the respondents have not heard of the Palestinian General Union for People with Disabilities, and 17% have not heard of the Ministry of Social Affairs, which is the ministry which holds the Palestinian Disability Law. This issue raises different questions related to disability rights and the role of organizations, such as the methods those organizations use to guarantee PWDS’ access to services they provide, and the level of inclusion of PWD in these organizations on all levels.  This also raises the question of how much PWD’s awareness of their rights will affect their lives, if this awareness is raised. Furthermore, 23% of the respondents have expressed that they are members of an organization for PWD or a SHG, the most being the Palestinian General Union for PWD. In addition, around one third of the respondents believe that there are persons in their community who demand rights for PWD, the most being their parents, or other family members. The survey also attempted to find out whether or not the respondents were interested in participating in trainings, and activities that deal with the rights of PWD. More than half of the respondents have expressed that they would be interested in learning more on details of trainings related to equality, rights, and discrimination facing PWD, in addition to the readiness in participating in activities that promote changing the reality of PWD.  Furthermore, of the 20 respondents who have used the Palestinian Law for the rights of Person’s with Disability, only 25% of them found that using it had given them a positive outcome.

Many organizations, have expressed, through the organization mapping done in the project areas that they face barriers towards working in the field of disability; these barriers include the lack of interest in disability in the Palestinian society as a whole, the ways of thinking prominent in the society limit the nature of work that can be done, and a lack of cooperation from the civil society towards working in disability.

Differences related to Gender

There were some differences expressed throughout the survey and focus groups that show more barriers related to females with disabilities in some cases; this was mostly related to familial and societal attitudinal barriers, such as the families afraid to send their female children to schools, particularly if the school is far from their residence. Furthermore, with regard to marriage, it was seen that a higher number of females have never married before in comparison to males. Furthermore, it was also seen that employment among males with disabilities  in addition to receiving educational services was also higher than that for females.

Conclusions

By reviewing the results of the field work, and to summarize the analysis of findings above, we can have a clearer picture on the reality of people with disabilities, and the main barriers preventing them from accessing different services, daily activities, participation in social life, and awareness of rights. It is seen that there are many recurring barriers in the many domains, and are affecting PWD’s ability and right to live in equality with others regardless of the difficulty they face. The key barriers are:

  • PWD own attitudes towards their disabilities.
  • Financial barriers that prevent PWD from accessing many needed services.
  • Difficulty in carrying out many main daily activities without assistive devices/persons.
  • The lack of availability of many assistive devices/persons.
  • Familial barriers, and the concern of families, preventing PWD from accessing services, participating in activities.
  • Difficulty reaching and using public transportation.
  • Negative attitudes of service providers, drivers, families, and the community in general.
  • The lack of readiness of institutions on many levels: Environmental, financial, organizational, lack of accessibility, and procedural problems.
  • Inequality of opportunities in accessing educational services, the labor market, and employment related information.
  • The absence of inclusive policies in many institutions, and leaving the issue of disability to be addressed only by institutions specialized in that field.
  • A lack of awareness of PWD of their rights, and organizations that deal with PWD.


The results of the fieldwork discussed earlier provided the basis for the trainings which are held for PWD in the target areas. Through the field work, we can recognize that many PWD in addition to the community in general are unaware of the rights of PWD and the implications of the reality on the ground.

Trainings on disability frameworks, rights and entitlements/Community Mobilization and Selection of CDATs

After collecting data through the mapping of institutions, household survey, and focus groups; the project team aimed to provide training to 300 people with disabilities, including a number of community activists in the project areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These trainings are divided into two stages with different themes. The training aimed to provide theoretical and practical tools for PWD and community activists, on dealing with disability as a human rights-based  issue, in addition to tools for lobbying and community mobilization. After the training, a learning workshop was held with a number of PWD and relevant stakeholders to discuss methodologies used by the project team throughout the project in obtaining data, and conducting training, in addition to case studies, and lessons that can be learned from the project’s experience to date. The trainings were held in each governorate; where the trainees were divided into 2 groups, receiving the same training. The choice of project areas in the beginning of the project, was closely related to the assumption of having a central area in each governorate for the trainings to be held, which enable people from different localities to attend in that location. There were challenges that arose related to this assumption that are discussed further in the section dealing with challenges.

The First Training on disability frameworks, rights and entitlements

The first training addressed several issues with the aim of providing tools for the chosen PWD that would help in efforts or initiatives dealing with disability as a human rights-based issue. The first training was to include 4 sessions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, divided into 2 sessions per region, with each session consisting of a 3 day training for 37-38  PWD and a number of local activists’ totaling into 300 people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. There were a number of extra sessions held in the West Bank to compensate for low attendance in some of the sessions, and challenges faced in the trainings.

Theoretical Issues that were covered by the training:

  • Disability frameworks, models, and laws.
  • Local and international laws and rights related to  disability

Target Group

  • 270 PWD, specifically, people with visual, mobility, and hearing disabilities.
  • 30 community activists, regardless of their fields of interest.

Target Areas:

The training targeted the target areas of the project, including 1 urban center, 1 rural area, and 1 refugee camp in each governorate. The training for each governorate was held in a central location as follows.

  • North West Bank – Qabatya
  • South West Bank – Dura
  • North Gaza Strip –   Beit Hanun
  • South Gaza Strip – Rafah

Extra training sessions were held in Jenin camp, in addition to attempts to hold a training workshop in al Fawwar camp for reasons which will be discussed later.

Training Methodology:

  • Each training is held for 2 groups in each area of the project areas.
  • 33-34 PWD were invited to each session, in addition to 3-4 community activists.
  • The target group was chosen based on the data from the household survey, in addition to data acquired from other institutions working with disability, when the priority was people who are not members or activists in other organizations, as the project aims to focus on the group of people with disability who are marginalized the most.
  • Community activists were invited to the training, using information from CBO, and targeting activists working in different sectors.
  • Training materials consisted of a mix of theoretical and practical methods.
  • The beginning of the training focused on creating a positive and interactive training environment, through a number of activities that enable individual-self and group empowerment.

Goals of the Training:

  • Improving the attitudes of trainees towards disability through presenting the social and the rights-based approaches.
  • Creating a positive environment between the trainees and finding an opportunity for empowering them.
  • Studying the project areas on a deeper level by the project’s team, to be able to identify PWD who will be a part of the project and its’ upcoming stages.

General Background Related to the Trainees:

The background below is a conclusion of the data gathered by the household servey and the conducted focus groups.

  • The trainees are PWD who are marginalized and far from services in their areas, thus they represent a disempowered group on a group and individual level
  • As with other sectors in the society, the trainees view disability from a charity and medical approach.
  • The trainees including PWDs were unaware of local and international laws and rights pertaining to disability.
  • Non-disabled trainees are not really interested in the issue of disability when they believe that it’s an individual issue and, doesn’t relate to them.
  • Most trainees were not used to an interactive approach to training, and are used to traditional methods.

The Second Training: Community Mobilization

Issues Addressed By The Training

  • Community mobilization through the narrow approach which focuses on a person’s skills and his environment.
  • An introduction to the new CBR guidelines, and community mobilization through a more comprehensive approach.

Target Group:

The training targets the same groups trained in the first training, and is seen as a continuation of the first training, building on issues addressed, and building skills needed for further participation in the project activities, and lobbying for rights.

Goals of the Training:

The main goal of the training is to build the skills of 300 PWD and community activists in defining their roles and the roles of the people around them towards influencing the reality of PWD in the environment of each trainee and in accordance with the social and rights-based models and approaches of disability.

Specific Goals of the Training:

  • Building a broader concept for the trainees regarding CBR in relation to the new CBR guidelines.
  • Defining barriers faced by the trainees in their lives and environments that prevent them from being able to live their lives in equality with others.
  • Developing the skills of the trainees in defining opportunities for changing their realities as PWD in their local communities.
  • The training also focuses on resources available in the community and how to best use these resources.

General Training Preparations and Challenges Faced in Implementation of Both Workshops

With regard to the preparation for trainings, there were a number that were of concern to the project team. One of the main issues was finding accessible halls suitable for the number of trainees. This has allowed the project team to intervene in some cases; through field visits to possible locations for holding the trainings; such as with the municipality in Qabatya, which is using a new building; which is accessible. However, the project team had asked for modifications for the meeting hall by adding a ramp to ensure accessibility. Similarly, in the Gaza Strip; the project team had delays in finding accessible halls in the Southern Gaza Strip.

The second issue was with relation to the trainees, and selection of the trainees. It was planned that the project team would rely solely on the household survey data for the invitation of trainees; aiming to ensure the attendance of people who have not previously been targeted by other programs or organizations. This however, proved difficult in reality; particularly due to a large number of people with complex/severe learning and communication difficulties in the data; whom are not targeted for participation in the project’s later stages. In addition to the data, the project team communicated with many institutions, key informers, and stakeholders in the field in order to target more people who fit the target group. Even with more interventions; more problems arose with relation to attendance. These problems were prevalent in the West Bank rather than the Gaza Strip, and enabled the project team to identify many challenges related to working in the field of disability, and an opportunity to learn from this experience.

Due to such challenges, the project team considered a number of possible interventions, including networking options, or coordinating with field coordinators who were locals to the regions were the training would be held. The project team then, met with the General Union of People with Disabilities in Ramallah and Hebron, to discuss cooperation and assistance in organizing the trainings.  Based on this, the team, with assistance from the GUPD organized another training session in Hebron, with improved attendance, but low attendance from people from al Fawwar refugee camp.

To address these challenges the project team met with the popular committee in al Fawwar refugee camp to discuss the project, ensure cooperation, and assistance in upcoming training sessions.  Accordingly, additional sessions were held in al Fawwar camp to target a larger number of people, and PWD from al Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron Governorate.

In the second group of the first training; in Jenin (North West Bank); there was low attendance compared to other groups. Most of the people targeted for that session were from Jenin refugee camp. It was also noted that there was an alarming absence of female attendance. The project team intervened; through holding additional training sessions close to Jenin camp targeting females with disabilities only. This was communicated with prospect trainees and their families; who expressed that they would participate if the training sessions were closer to the camp, and were not mixing males and females.  These training sessions showed improvement in attendance and helped in addressing the challenges faced.

In addition, there were challenges faced related to the participants themselves who attended the two trainings, which can be represented in the low level of interest in the trainings’ subjects among some of the participants. For some people the training was an opportunity for them to leave their houses and enjoy being in a comfortable environment.

2-day Learning Workshops:  consolidating learning from field work, training and on perspectives of people with disability

Following the field work and trainings; the project team proceeded to hold a 2-day learning workshop with a number of participants who have participated in some of the project activities. The aim of the workshop is to have an open discussion and assessment of the project and its implementation, in addition to the methodologies used in the various project activities. The workshop was designed over two days, bringing participants from the different project areas into a central location (one workshop was held in Gaza City and one in Ramallah), staying in a hotel; to promote better interaction within the group.

Target Group:

The workshop invited 31 participants in the West Bank, and 42 participants in the Gaza Strip participants, the majority of whom were people with disabilities from various localities, ages, gender, and types of difficulties; in addition to representatives of parents of PWD and local activists. The participants also included PWD who withdrew from project activities, in order to gain perspectives on reasons that prevented their participation. In the Gaza Strip, it was necessary for the project team to hold a meeting with the families of the participants, with participation from the local advisory groups in order to explain the goals of the workshop, and help clear any doubts held by the families which would otherwise prevent some participants from attending the workshop. This is an important step, and helps in building trust between the project team and the local communities.

The overall objective was for the participants’ to provide feedback and evaluate the previous stages in the project effectively and loudly, by :

  1. To exchange conclusions and lessons learnt on the previous stage of the project among the participants themselves and, the participants and the project team.
  2. To discuss barriers facing people with disability the most and, barriers that faced the project team in the implementation process of the previous stages.
  3. To explore the participants’ vision towards the next stages of the project and, alternatives suggested by them related to the previous stages.

Methodology:

The workshop is divided over a number of activities with different approaches aiming to ensure continuous interaction and participation. The activities aimed to address the following issues:

  • The methodology of the project; the selected areas, the preparations of the activities, etc.
  • Assessing the household survey, and the questionnaire.
  • Evaluation of the trainers and the trainings.
  • Discussing the main issues which were represented and had formed question marks during the implementation of the previous stages in the project.
  • Exploring the participants’ expectations from the project.
  • Identifying the characteristics of PWDS who will lead the change process in their communities.

Findings from the Learning Workshops:

The participants have given their feedback throughout the learning workshop which can be summarized as follows:

The selection for types of localities

  • In relation to the participants’ point of view regarding the areas selected by the project, which is urban, rural and, refugees’ camps in each district, they expressed the importance of considering this classification of areas and, the importance of targeting each of them, specially that this is an academic, developmental and community based project.
  • Many of the points the participants had mentioned in an attempt to describe each area showed there are many similarities in the three types of localities in relation to the issue of disability. For example, most people have a lack of faith in the PWD ability to depend on him\herself, there is also a lack of services that consider the PWD requirements, there are prevalent negative attitudes among drivers towards PWD, most of the public places are inaccessible for people with disability PWDS are marginalized, isolated and seen as they are burden on society and PWDs are not enjoying their rights on an equal basis with others.
  • The participants had presented basic differences between the types of localities. For example, the social ties and traditions are stronger in villages, illiteracy is prevalent in villages when many students enrolled in schools are still illiterate. Also, transportation is weak in villages and most roads are dirt roads.
  • There is a high population density in the camps; the services in the camp do not benefit everyone equally, refugee camp roads are very narrow and pose a difficulty in accessibility.
  • In urban areas there is more awareness towards the issue of disability than villages and camps, there are institutions that work on disability more than other types of localities, in urban areas the infrastructure is better with better getter transportation and wider streets, there are better health services, and hospitals which are more accessible than villages and camps. Furthermore, in urban areas, there are trainings, health services, and house visits targeting PWDs, however many participants have noted that in reality there is still a lack of interest in the issue of disability by municipalities and many institutions.

Gathering the data

In their feedback on the project and the field work stage, participants have noted the importance of notifying families before the field visits in the survey, in addition to the field worker showing patience towards the families’ or parents’ attempts to answer questions instead of the respondent. Participants discussed whether it is more beneficial to interview the PWD alone, or with the presence of a family member; with the majority finding it more suitable to interview the PWD alone.

In addition, the participants had suggested that similar surveys should make procedures to guarantee that the PWD is the one who is responding. As many parents have lack of trust in their children with disability and, have assumptions that they are not capable enough to express themselves fully and independently.

The questionnaire

The participants have discussed the questions used in the questionnaire and found the majority of the questions clear and able to cover most important topics. However, some participants have noted that the questionnaire and questions are too long and detailed, and should have been shorter.

The evaluation of the trainers

A practical method was used to evaluate the trainers by putting criteria for characteristics of a good trainer from the participants’ point of view.

The participants decided on a number of characteristics that are essential and should be available in an effective trainer, some of the main characteristics identified include:

  • Ability to deliver information
  • Self Confidence
  • Communication skills
  • Patience
  • Is qualified to train
  • Having a training plan
  • Presentable
  • Dealing with respect
  • Able to build trust between trainees
  • Understanding and using body language
  • Commitment to time and appointments
  • Using various training tools
  • Flexibility
  • Has sufficient knowledge
  • Smiling
  • Clear voice
  • Belief in the issue of disability
  • Persuasion

This list was used to evaluate the trainers, considering that they have to leave the training hall, to allow the participants to express their views anonymously and freely.

 Evaluation of the trainings:

By discussing the various technical aspects of the trainings, the participants proceeded to discuss both positive and negative issues related to the first and second trainings.

Positive Issues:

  • Many concepts presented were important and were explained well as they were not previously understood for all the participants. Such as defining disability outside of the common negative framework prevalent in society.
  • The issue of mainstreaming, and its’ discussion led to stronger cooperation and trust between participants.
  • The training environment was rich in an atmosphere that motivates positive interaction among the participants.
  • The training was clear and included most issues pertaining to PWD.
  • The trainings were   an opportunity for the participants to meet each other and present and exchange their experiences and views.

Negative Issues:

  • Some families misunderstood training materials and the project’s objectives, which led them to prevent their children to participate, as many people seek the financial benefits of participating.
  • The environment wasn’t always positive between people in the training, specifically for reasons related to the fact that the participants were coming from different types of localities.
  • The training day was long, and there was a long time gap between the first training and the second one.
  • The differences in age between participants.
  • Some groups had some recreational activities while others didn’t
  • Some participants did not clearly understand the goals of the training, booklets should have been distributed.
  • The fact that the project is targeting PWDS in ages between 15 and 35 only, and would exclude other PWD in other age groups.

Other questions and issues discussed in the workshop

Throughout the workshop the participants discussed the following questions, which were recurring throughout the project.

Do PWD from different types of localities accept each other?

This question had a chance to be answered by all the participants and, briefly, the following points were highlighted :

  • People with disabilities should be more accepting towards each other regardless of their localities
  • If PWD discriminate against each other, then they are in no position to fight against the discrimination of society against them.
  • The participants expressed that there was a lack of comfort among them in the beginning regarding mixed trainings that targeted PWD from different types of localities, which resulted from the ways they were conditioned in their communities and cultures.
  • The participants presented that those trainings were important chance for them to challenge their attitudes and stereotypes toward the other.
  • Most of the participants stated that those trainings had created a positive change on their attitudes and actions towards the other who was seen differently as he/she lives in another type of locality only.

Are there other disability related projects that are being implemented in the participants’ areas which are creating positive change on the lives of PWD?

  • Most projects are restricted to certain age groups, and certain issues.
  • Some projects are harmful to PWD, as their goals are far from the needs of PWD.
  • A lack of long term projects causes a reduced effect of the projects.
  • Most projects dealing with PWD do not employ PWD.
  • Many projects had a positive influence for some people, made people more interactive, and raised awareness on disability, but have been unable to change people’s lives.

How this project is different than other disability projects in your community?

  1. The participants stated that this project is different in its continuation and follow up process.
  2. The participants expressed that it’s the first project that has a holistic and developmental view in its perspective on the issue of disability.
  3. The participants had mentioned that this project is more flexible in its implementation process in order to meet the field’s needs and challenges.
  4. The participants expressed that this project gives them more opportunities in comparison with other projects to be key players in the planning, implementation and, evaluation processes.
  5. The participants highlighted the importance of the fact that this project is implemented by a center which is related to a university. The issue that qualified the project to be academic, developmental and, community based one.

How was the role of families in the participation of PWD in the project’s activities?

  • Most families do not see a benefit in these activities.
  • The person with disability should have a strong will power to defend his/her desire to participate.
  • The concern of parents especially for their daughters has a negative effect on the PWD participation.
  • Parents’ awareness should be raised towards the benefits of such activities.
  • Some parents play a positive role and encourage their children to participate.

The participants’ expectations and vision towards the project’s later stages

Most of the inputs in this regard could be concluded through the following:

  1. The project will lead to effective interventions on the attitudes among different groups in the community in relation to PWDs’ issues.
  2. The project will strengthen the PWD skills in being the key players in making the change wanted on the lives of PWD, by being capable in organizing their efforts through creating new self help groups and disabled people organizations in their communities.

By the end of the learning workshops, the participants concluded that following characteristics are important for a local activist in disability to have:

  • Should have good social relations in the local community
  • Humility
  • Commitment
  • Have good communication skills
  • Honesty
  • Leadership skills
  • Ability to work within a group
  • Trustworthy
  • Able to deal with changes and surprises
  • Patience
  • Transparency
  • Persuasion skills
  • Accepting to other people’s opinions
  • Optimism

Annex (1)

Community Organization Mapping -Main Results:

West Bank

47 institutions were interviewed in the West Bank; 23 in the South (Hebron area) and 24 in the North (Jenin area)

  • In the North West Bank, 23 out of 23 institutions (100%) have expressed their interest in working in the field of disability.
  • In the South West Bank, 13 out of 24 institutions (54%) have expressed their interest in working in the field of disability.
  • In the North West Bank, 7 Projects/Programs were identified that work on the issue of disability.
  • In the South West Bank, 5 Projects/Programs were identified that work on the issue of disability.
  • In the South West Bank, 24 institutions are employing 177 employees, none of which are people with disabilities.
  • In the North West Bank, 23 institutions are employing 332 employees, none of which are people with disabilities.

Projects related to disability:

These are some examples of projects/services implemented, related to disability in the different localities

Hebron:

  • Rehabilitation through workshops with PWD and their families
  • CBR Center
  • Inclusion  of people with disabilities in handcrafts and visual arts
  • Local committee for rehabilitation: focuses on rehabilitation projects, such as mechanical limbs, and rehabilitation for people with paralysis

Jenin:

  • Jenin Society for people who are Deaf, Rehabilitation Center, Jenin Camp
  • Al Mostaqbal School- vocational training for people with disabilities
  • Loans program for people with disabilities
  • Qabatiya Municipality: giving building permits to PWD depending on the severity of functionality, numerous centers for rehabilitation in Qabatya
  • School for people who are vision impaired

Projects not related to disability:

Hebron:

  • Empowering Women Project- Food manufacturing – Family Development (Al Nahda)
  • Building a small park for children – Al Bara’a institution
  • Al Tala’e – vocational training for youths – Palestinian Child Cultural Center.
  • Iqra’ Campaign- Encouraging reading – Al Fajr Cultural Collective 

Jenin:

  • Embroidery project for women – Al Najda institution
  • Building agricultural roads in Sanour – Sanour Agricultural Cooperative
  • Khutwa- Sports activities for children – Youth Social Center – Jenin Camp
  • Handcrafts for women – Kay la Nansa Women Organization

Gaza Strip

90 Institutions were interviewed in the Gaza Strip. From the 90 institutions, 88 institutions provided information about the number of employees, and employees with disability

  • In the North Gaza Strip, 37 out of 53 institutions (70%) have expressed their interest in working in the field of disability.
  • In the South Gaza Strip, 21 out of 35 institutions (60%) have expressed their interest in working in the field of disability.
  • In the North Gaza Strip, 31 Projects/Programs were identified that work on the issue of disability.
  • In the South Gaza Strip, 15 Projects/Programs were identified that work with people with disabilities.
  • In the North Gaza Strip 53 institutions are employing 1072 employees 1 of which is a person with disability.
  • In the South Gaza Strip, 35 institutions are employing 248 employees, 4 of which are people with disabilities.

Projects related to disability:

These are some examples of projects/services implemented, related to disability in the different localities

North Gaza Strip:

  • Physical therapy program
  • Project for financially supporting children with disabilities.
  • Daycare for children with disabilities
  • Provision of mechanical limbs
  • Community and psychological support
  • Youth psychological support

South Gaza Strip:

  • Project for the inclusion of children with hearing impairments
  • House visits program
  • Project for advocacy- rights of people with disability
  • CBR Program

Projects not related to disability:

North Gaza Strip

  • Olive picking initiative for women – Forsan al Ghad Institute
  • Supermarket project- Providing aid to the poor – The Islamic Society
  • Khutwat for developing athletic talents- Beit Hanun Youth Club
  • Mushroom farming project for women – Ishraqa charity

South Gaza Strip

  • Distributing Cattle to farmers – Rafah Farmers Society
  • Embroidery for women – Al Naser Charity Society
  •  Handcrafts for women – Mujama’ al Karama for Culture and Arts
  • Assisting University Students – Al Rahma Charitable Society

Main barriers towards working in the field of disability as expressed by organizations (West Bank and Gaza Strip):

  • In general, there is a lack of interest in the issue of disability in the Palestinian society.
  • Social problems, related to traditional ways of thinking, limit the interest in disability and the nature of work that can be done in the field.
  • The general unstable situation in the Palestinian territories.
  • The lack of cooperation from the civil society when it comes to activities related to disabilities.
  • Work is focused in specific areas, and unable to work on a broader scale.

Annex (2)

Main Results of the Household Survey for People with Disabilities

As discussed in the methodology, the questionnaire was designed to study the reality of inclusion of people with disabilities and their ability to reach services in many fields and areas of life. In this section we will observe the main results reflected through the survey, while focusing on barriers that limit access of PWD to services and the different fields addressed by the questionnaire, this is based on a participatory concept of the experience of disability.

General Background Regarding the Sample

  • 721 questionnaires were completed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (353 in the WB and 368 in the GS), noting that 198 households had more than one person with disability.
  • Sex:    

52.6% Male      47.4% Female

  • Age: The targeted age group as discussed earlier is people with disabilities between ages 15 and 35.

Types of Difficulties (Functionality limitations/impairment)

  • Around 13% of the respondents responded that they have a difficulty in seeing
  • Around 17% of the respondents responded that they have a difficulty in hearing
  • Around 39.5% of the respondents responded that they have a difficulty in moving, walking, or using stairs.
  • Around 39% of the respondents responded that they have a difficulty in remembering, and concentrating.
  • 35% of the respondents responded that they have a difficulty in self care, such as personal hygiene, and dressing alone.
  • 43.5% of the respondents responded that they have a difficulty in communication, such as understanding others.

Education:

  • Around 66% of the respondents have responded that they have or are still enrolled in education. (70% of total males, and 62% of total females)

60% of those who have answered that they have enrolled or are still enrolled in education, have only finished primary education.

Work:

  • 16% of the respondents have responded that they have worked or are currently employed with wages.

Marital Status:

85.6% of the respondents are single, engaged, and never married before. (94% of the total females, and 77% of total males)

Types of Difficulties and Daily Activities:

  • 50.2% of all respondents expressed that they are unable to read at all
  • 48.1% of all respondents expressed that they are unable to write at all
  • 47.1% of all respondents expressed that they are unable to shop
  • 48.3% of all respondents expressed that they are unable to prepare meals
  • 46.7% of all respondents expressed that they are unable to do house chores
  • 44.9% of all respondents expressed that they are unable to use transportation
  • 63.8% of all respondents use assistive devices (personal assistant is the most used)
  • 35.5% of all respondents need an assistive device which is unavailable to them

Difficulty in Seeing:

  • 13% of the respondents have answered that they have a large difficulty in seeing or are not able to see at all
  • 50% of people with visual difficulties reported their inability to shop and access services
  • 50% of people with visual difficulties reported their inability to prepare their meals
  • 49.5% of people with visual difficulties reported their inability to do house chores
  • 51.6% of people with visual difficulties reported their inability to travel using transportation
  • 74.7% use assistive devices : personal assistant, glasses
  • 52.6% need other assistive devices which are unavailable

Difficulty in Hearing:

  • 16.6% of the respondents have answered that they have a large difficulty in hearing or are not able to hear at all
  • 39.2% of whom are unable to read at all
  • 36.7% of whom are unable to write at all
  • 30.8% of whom are unable to shop or access services
  • 28.3% of whom are unable to use transportation
  • 54.2% use assistive devices (19.2% use hearing aids)
  • 56.7% need other assistive devices which are unavailable

Difficulty in walking/climbing stairs:

  • 39.5% of the respondents reported having a large difficulty in walking/getting up the stairs or are not able at all
  • 51.9% of them responded that they are unable to read at all
  • 50.5% of whom responded that they are unable to write at all
  • 38.9% of them answered that they are unable to do self care
  • 58.6 % of them answered that they are unable to use transportation
  • 34.4% of them answered that they are unable to dress/undress
  • 64.6% of them answered that they are unable to shop
  • 67.4% of them responded that they are unable to prepare meals
  • 79.6% of them use assistive devices
  • 48.1% of them need assistive devices which are unavailable to them

Difficulty in Remembering/Concentrating:

  • 39.3% of the respondents reported a large difficulty in remembering/ concentration or are unable at all
  • 84.5% of them are unable to read at all
  • 82% of them are unable to write at all
  • 47.2% of them are unable to communicate with others.
  • 50% of them are unable to care for themselves (self care, cleaning)
  • 38% of them are unable to dress/undress
  • 77.8% of them are unable to shop
  • 79.6% of them are unable to prepare meals
  • 73.2% of them are unable to do house chores
  • 79.6% of them are unable to use transportation
  • 45.1% are unable to understand others

Difficulty in Self Care:

  • 36% of the respondents expressed that they have difficulty in self care
  • 76.6% of them expressed that they are unable to read at all
  • 76.2% of them expressed that they are unable to write at all
  • 50.4% of them expressed that they are unable to communicate with others directly
  • 41.2% of them expressed that they are unable to use a toilet
  • 80.8% of them expressed that they are unable to shop
  • 83.5% of them expressed that they are unable to prepare meals
  • 76.9% of them expressed they are unable to use transportation
  • 86.8% of them use assistive devices (28.1% use personal assistant)
  • 35.4% of them need an assistive device which is unavailable to them

Difficulty in communication or understanding others:

  • 43.5% expressed a large difficulty or are unable to communicate or understand others at all
  • 78.3% of them are unable to read at all
  • 76.1% of them are unable to write at all
  • 47.5% of them are unable to care for themselves
  • 37.9% of them are unable to dress/undress
  • 69.9% of them are unable to shop
  • 71% of them are unable to prepare meals
  • 66.9% of them are unable to do house chores
  • 69.7% of them are unable to use transportation
  • 70.7% of them use an assistive device (22.9% use a personal assistant/family member)
  • 39.9% of them need an assistive device which is unavailable to them

Services and Barriers to Access

Health Services:

  • There were a number of health services addressed by the survey, such as a general doctor, specialized doctor, hospitals, and physical therapist.
  • It is important to note that around one third of the respondents expressed their inability to reach a specialist.
  • Half of the respondents from the Jenin area expressed difficulty in access to a specialist.
  • Most respondents expressed that they have no need for an occupational therapist.
  • More than 60% of the respondents expressed that they have no need for a CBR worker.
  • It is also important to note that 41% of respondents in the Jenin area have expressed their inability to reach a general doctor.
  • In relation to access to hospitals, the numbers are also alarming, noting the inability to reach hospitals for respondents in Jenin and Rafah.

Barriers:

It is important to note that the questionnaire addressed a large number of barriers that limit access to health services, taking into consideration financial, attitudinal, and institutional barriers. The main barriers found in the results are as follows:

  • Financial barriers: barriers related to costs, such as costs of services, and transportation which is one of the main barriers faced by most respondents.
  • Enviromental Barriers:
    •  Around 75% of the respondents expressed difficulty in using public transportation in relation to their disability.
    •  More than one third of respondents found difficulty in reaching health services due to inaccessible buildings for providers of health services.
  • Attitudinal Barriers:
    • More than one third of respondents have expressed difficulty in using public transportation due to attitudes of drivers towards them as people with disabilities.
    • Almost one third of respondents expressed that they do not like the way they are addressed by service providers.
  • Institutional Barriers:
    • Around 70% of respondents have expressed that service providers are far from their place of residence.
    •  More than 36% of the respondents have expressed difficulty in communicating with services providers due to the difficulty they face.

Educational Services:

  • As previously stated, around 67% of respondents have enrolled or are still enrolled in education, with around 20% of them receiving educational services through a specialized school or institution for people with disabilities.
  • Around half of the respondents have expressed that they stopped receiving educational services sooner than they would have wanted.
  • It is also important to note that more than half of the respondents have not had a chance to receive or complete education, even though the target group is within an age that is expected to be able to access educational services.

Barriers:

As we have discussed barriers related to transportation and accessibility, we will focus here on barriers related to the educational environment as follows:

  • Attitudinal Barriers:
    • More than one third of those who have enrolled or are still enrolled in education have felt or are feeling isolated from their fellow students, and 20% have expressed that the school administration has rejected their enrollment.

Institutional Barriers:  

  • Around 61% of the respondents have expressed that they find a difficulty in learning.
  • Around one third of the respondents have expressed that the educational institution is far from their place of residence, noting that 60% of respondents from Rafah have expressed this barrier.
  • Around 31% of respondents have expressed that there is a lack of availability of educational materials in a way that is suitable for the difficulty they have.
  • Furthermore, around one third of the respondents have expressed that there is no qualified educational cadre that understands the requirements and needs related to the difficulty they have, noting that this barrier is most faced in the Hebron area.

Familial Barriers:

  • More than one third of respondents have expressed the fear of their families regarding them attending school in a different city. This ratio is higher for females than males by 10%.
  • With relation to isolation, it is important to note that 20% of those who have received education in a specialized school for people with disabilities, 39.5% of whom have responded that they feel isolated in relation to their fellow students, compared to 46.1% of those who have received or are receiving education in a school that is not specialized.

It is important to note the societal attitudes towards people with disabilities, as 20% of the respondents have been rejected by the school administration. When viewing this issue in relation to types of disability we found the rate to be higher among people with learning and communication, or hearing difficulties.

  • 37.2% of whom were people with mobility/physical difficulties.
  • 55.3% were people with difficulty in communication and understanding others
  • 52% were people with difficulty in remembering and concentration.

Employment:

  • As previously noted, 16% of the respondents have responded that they work or have worked previously with wages, 23% of whom were males, and 7% females.
  • It is also important to note that close to 70% of the respondents who work or have worked were employed in the private sector.

Barriers:

Due to the importance of this field, and its role in the independence of an individual, the survey has addressed many barriers that limit access to the labor market, the following results were the most important:

  • Financial, Attitudinal, and Institutional Barriers:
    • As 40% of the respondents have no access or do not receive information related to available jobs. 38% of them have faced a situation where the employer told them that their difficulty will prevent them from working; this barrier is faced more in the Hebron area as around half the respondents there have confirmed this difficulty.
    • More than one third of respondents expressed a lack of accessibility in working environments.
    • Around half of the respondents have responded that they have not found an employment opportunity compatible with their qualifications.
    • Around one third of respondents expressed that they feel isolated within a work environment, with this ratio being higher in Rafah and Hebron.
    • Around one third of the respondents have expressed that their families do not encourage them to work, the rate for females is higher than males by 10%.
    • Around half of the respondents have expressed that they lack experience and skills for work, with a higher rate in the Hebron area.

Social and Civil Life:

In this field, the questionnaire has addressed a number of social and civil activities which showed the following results:

  • Between 40% and 50% of the respondents have expressed that they are completely unable to do the following activities:
    • Travelling with family, friends to another city for a trip or workshop
    • Using the internet
    • Going to a sports club
    • Visiting municipalities, or ministries.
    • Travelling outside the country
    • Visiting relatives and friends in their homes
    • Voting, taking part in elections

Barriers:

  • Institutional and Financial Barriers:  
  • More than half of the respondents find difficulty in using public or private transportation due to their difficulty. 40% of whom expressed that there is a lack of accessibility in public buildings, causing them to be unable to make use of services.
  • Around half of the respondents have expressed that people’s attitudes towards them are usually unfriendly.
  • Around one third of respondents have expressed that they do not use public transportation due to attitudes of drivers towards them as people with disabilities.
  • More than half of the respondents have expressed that they do not have the financial resources to participate in activities.
  • More than one third of the respondents have expressed a difficulty in finding someone to come with them.

Rights and Empowerment:

This section deals with people with disabilities and their knowledge of resources and organizations related to disabilities, in addition to probing the interest of the respondents in being activists towards changing the reality they face due to disability, the main results are as follows:

  • Between 78% and 85% of the respondents have never heard of the Palestinian Law for People with Disabilities, or the Palestinian Labor Law, or The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, noting that 90% of the respondents of Hebron have expressed that, in comparison to rates between 60-70% in other regions.
  • 78% of the respondents have never heard of the Palestinian Law for People with Disabilities.
  • Around 61% of the respondents have never heard of the General Palestinian Union of People with Disabilities, and most respondents have never heard of the Independent Commission for Human Rights.
  • 46% of the respondents in the Hebron area have responded that they have never heard of the Ministry of Social Affairs, and around one third of all respondents haven’t heard of it.
  • Around 68% of respondents have not been members of an organization of people with disabilities or a self help group.
  • Around one third of the respondents are current members of such an organization or group.
  • More than half of the respondents wish to take part in a training about rights and advocacy, the highest ratio being in Hebron. It is important to note that females (more than males) have expressed that lack of encouragement and negative attitudes of their families could affect their ability to participate.
  • Around one third of the respondents have expressed their lack of interest in participating in trainings, with the rates being higher in Jenin and North Gaza Strip.

Annex (3)

Main Results of Focus Groups

West Bank

Barriers facing PWD, with regards to Health Services:

  • Many doctors write prescriptions and make diagnosis without fully examining children.
  • Specialists provide better services, but are hard to reach, due to difficulty in transportation and geographic location.
  • Many services are expensive, such as physical therapy.
  • Many PWD’s cannot afford medical and assistive devices, such as wheelchairs etc.

Barriers facing PWD, with regards to access to education:

  • There is a lack of qualified schools that provide education for PWD’s; some of these schools exist, but are far away, or in different cities. In addition, many view that specialized schools are expensive, such as al Nur school in Bethlehem for people with vision impairment – this being the closest to Dura.
  • Most schools are not accessible for PWD.
  • Teachers have told parents that their children with disabilities negatively affect other students in class.
  • Many teachers are not qualified in dealing with children with disabilities
  • In school there is a negative attitude, people do not think it is reasonable for a PWD to get an education, and do not know how to interact with him/her.

Barriers facing PWD in the job market:

  • Institutions have expressed that there is discrimination in hiring against PWD.
  • Institutions have expressed that there are negative attitudes towards PWD in the job market.
  • Currently, there is difficulty finding employment, whether you have a disability or not.
  • A lack of accessibility, in roads, workplaces, and most services.
  • A lack of accessible transportation, and infrastructure.
  • PWD and parents of PWD find most employers to have a negative attitude towards PWD and their ability to excel at work.
  • Our job market suffers from a lot of favoritism

Barriers facing PWD with regard to participation in social life

  • Many PWD and parents have expressed the negative view in society towards marrying someone with a disability. It is not that it doesn’t occur, but there are negative attitudes dominant in the culture.
  • It is more difficult for a female with disability to marry, due to negative social attitudes.
  • The most difficult challenge facing PWD is the inability of people in society to interact with PWD in a suitable way
  • Parents are concerned about letting their children with disabilities participate in social life; as they are worried they would be harmed by their peers.

Barriers towards integrating PWD in institutions:

  • Institutions acknowledged a lack of accessibility in buildings. 
  • Institutions have expressed high costs for inclusion and accessibility.
  • Institutions have expressed that there is a lack of government support for such endeavors.
  • Institutions have expressed that there is a lack of interest on the part of the community towards PWD.
  • Community activists expressed that most development projects target all sectors of the society, but do not target PWD’s specifically to ensure mainstreaming.

Barriers in relation to transportation PWD:

  • Some drivers ignore PWD, and some help them, it depends on the driver
  • Some drivers refuse to drive PWD, as it takes more time and effort.
  • A lot of family members of PWD, help them with transportation
  • Some parents expressed that they cannot allow their children to go alone using transportation, as there is a lack of accessibility, infrastructure, and suitable transportation.

Rights and Empowerment; challenges and institutions working with PWD

  • Favoritism; wheel chairs are given to people who are in certain positions, or relatives of someone in a position.
  • Institutions working in disability do not care about PWD’s needs on the ground
  • People are ashamed of PWD, and many do not admit that there is a PWD in their home.
  • Even some organizations of PWD’s are not accessible.

Attitudes in the community towards PWD:

  • A lot of people have negative attitudes and make fun of PWD
  • Many children have negative attitudes towards PWD.
  • The way the community treats PWD’s creates negative self perceptions for PWD.
  • Society views a PWD as someone different, and most people do not have social relations with PWD.
  • A lot of families deny that they have a PWD in their family, and do not take him\her to participate in social life.

Attitudes of businesses towards PWD:

  • Most merchants do not allow people with learning and communication difficulties to enter their stores, based on the belief that they would ruin their merchandise.
  • Attitudes are generally better towards people with mobility disabilities.

Factors that affect a person with disability’s ability to live independently

  • Type of impairment / level of functionality.
  • Attitudes in the community.
  • The environment and barriers in the environment.
  • Financial issues.

Concerns of Parents of PWD

  • Most parents of PWD share the concern that their child would be lonely\alone in his\her life.
  • Parents are worried about financial issues and lack of employment opportunities for PWD.

Recommendations from WB focus groups:

  • When designing buildings, and institutions; accessibility should be kept in mind.
  • The psychological issues and barriers facing PWD should be considered.
  • PWD should be included in all levels of society; work, education, social life, because they have the ability to participate fully in the society.
  • PWD’s should be included in education.
  • PWD should raise their voices through collective actions.
  • Institutions, particularly PWD’s organizations should be made accessible.

Gaza Strip

Barriers facing PWD, with regards to Health Services:

  • Unavailability of many needed services, and assistive devices.
  • Favoritism with provision of services and assistive devices.
  • Financial costs of services and devices.
  • Costs of transportation.
  • Some health service providers have inaccessible buildings.

Barriers facing PWD, with regards to access to education:

  • There are negative attitudes from educational institutions towards PWD. Some schools have refused to enroll PWD.
  • Educational institutions are far from where PWD live.
  • Difficulty in using public transportation.
  • Some parents refuse to send their children who have disabilities to educational institutions.
  • Some PWD had to leave schools earlier than they would have wanted.
  • Unavailability of educational materials in suitable format.
  • There are not many specialized schools; some specialized schools are very far away.
  • Leaving school earlier than would have wanted.
  • A lack of inclusion of PWD in schools, such as people with hearing disabilities.

Barriers facing PWD in the job market:

  • Most employers do not hire PWD.
  • Workplaces are inaccessible; inaccessible building, no suitable computer software, sign translation, stairs, toilets.
  • Lack of suitable employment opportunities.
  • There is a view in society that PWD cannot work.        
  • The person without a disability usually needs to use family connections to find work, which make employment opportunities difficult to find, even harder for PWD.
  • Parents do not encourage their children who have disabilities to work.
  • Negative attitudes of the community, colleagues, people who interact with the PWD at work.

Barriers facing PWD with regard to participation in social life

  • Many parents do not take their children who have disabilities to social events due to negative attitudes in society towards PWD.
  • PWDs are harassed in the streets, particularly people with learning and communication difficulties.
  • PWD find difficulty in forming relationships and friendships.
  • Society views a person who befriends a PWD in a negative way.
  • Border crossings are inaccessible.
  • Women with disabilities face a more negative attitude towards their participation in social life.

Barriers towards including PWD in institutions:

  • The view that PWD can only be included in institutions dealing with disability only.
  • Institutions of the civil society and government marginalize PWD.
  • Institutions and public services are inaccessible.
  • Lack of awareness in interacting with PWD.
  • A lack of volunteering opportunities for PWD.

Barriers in relation to transportation for PWD:

  • Difficulty in using public transport; negative attitudes of drivers towards PWD.
  • Sometimes drivers of public transportation refuse to let a PWD ride, so he has to take a private (more expensive) taxi.
  • Some drivers do not take PWD as it takes time, and they want fast profit.
  • Some drivers transport PWD out of compassion.
  • High costs of transportation.

Rights and Empowerment; challenges and institutions working with PWD

  • Employers do not employ PWD regardless of the law.
  • PWD do not know their rights, if they knew their rights, there would be less discrimination.

Attitudes in the community towards PWD:

  • There is a negative attitude in society towards people with disabilities, some people are ashamed of PWD.
  • PWD are treated much better or much worse than other people.
  • Some parents beat their children who have disabilities.
  • Some PWD’s expressed that they get harassed in their neighborhoods, sometimes assaulted.
  • Most people have problems with regard to marrying their children to a PWD.
  • Some PWDs and their families deny that they have a disability.

Attitudes of businesses towards PWD:

  • Some merchants treat PWD well, and give them free things out of compassion.
  • Some businesses are concerned about selling to PWD if they are unaccompanied.

Factors that affect a person with disability’s ability to live independently

  • It depends on the type of impairment / level of functionality.
  • Society’s negative attitudes are critical of a PWD living independently.
  • There are exceptions of some people who have strong will power.
  • This depends on the level of accessibility in the society and the person.
  • Parents play an integral role in the person with disabilities ability to live independently.

Concerns of Parents of PWD

  • There is a lack of employment opportunities in general; thus, parents are worried about the future of their children with disabilities.
  • Concern about their children as they think they will not be married due to negative social attitudes; particularly towards females with disabilities.
  • Many parents expressed their concern that if the parent dies, nobody will take care of their children with disabilities.

Recommendations from the Gaza Focus Groups:

  • Providing education, and including PWD in education.
  • Providing accessibility in infrastructure, roads, buildings, and transportation.
  • Encouraging and training PWD to be able to live independently.
  • Empowering and assisting parents of PWD in supporting their children.
  • Participating in activities that advocate for the rights of PWD.
  • Ensuring the implementation of laws pertaining to PWD.
  • Building awareness for the society and PWD themselves, and trying to form positive attitudes.
  • Providing treatment abroad if not available locally.
  • Providing clubs that are accessible for PWD.
  • Providing assistive devices for PWD.
  • Municipalities shouldn’t give building permits unless buildings are accessible.
  • Reducing costs of health services.

Annex (4)

The  Palestinian Law for the Rights of PWD (1999)

Law Number 4

Concerning the Rights of Disabled People

The Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization

The President of the Palestinian National Authority

After reviewing the draft law presented by the Council of Ministers

And pursuant to the presentation of the Minister of Social Affairs

And after the approval of the Legislative Council

We hereby promulgate the following Law

Chapter One

Definitions and General Provisions

Article one

In applying the provisions of this Law, the following words and terms shall have the meanings designated hereunder unless stipulated otherwise.

The Minister Ministry of Social Affairs.

The Minister The Minister of Social Affairs

The disabled Any individual suffering from a permanent partial or total disability whether congenital or not in his/her senses or in his/her physical, psychological, or mental capabilities to the extent that it restricts the fulfillment of his/her normal living requirements in a manner not usually faced by those without disabilities.

The disabled card The card that specifies the group of services which the disabled is entitled to receive through an organized program.

Rehabilitation The package of services, activities and social, psychological, medical, educational, and professional aid that enable the disabled to exercise his/her right independently and with dignity

Protected workshops The centers which are designated for rehabilitating, sheltering, and employing those disabled suffering from severe mental disabilities.

Public place Any building, or path, or road, or another place that provides public services to the citizens.

Accessibility Rendering public places and work premises suitable for use by the disabled.

Article Two

The disabled have the right to enjoy a free life, dignified living, and various services in a manner equal to that of other citizens and he/she shall have the same rights and obligations that are within his/her capabilities It is not permissible to prevent any disabled from enjoying these rights because of his/her disability.

Article Three

The state shall guarantee the protection of the rights of the disabled and shall facilitate their attainment The Ministry shall coordinate with the competent bodies to prepare an awareness program for the disabled a his/her family, and his/her local environment regarding the rights stipulated in this Law.

Article Four

Ills permissible pursuant to this Law for the disabled to establish their own organizations and societies,

Article Five

1. The state shall provide the disabled with rehabilitation in all its forms in accordance with the requirements of the nature of the disability. The contribution of the disabled shall not exceed 25% of the expense.

2. The disabled shall be exempt from this contribution for resisting the occupation

Article Six

Pursuant to the provisions of the law, the following shall be exempt from fees, customs, and taxes:

1. All medical and education equipment as well as aid instruments, and transportation means necessary for the registered schools and organizations of the disabled.

2. Private transportation means for use by the disabled individuals.

Article Seven

Pursuant to a request by the Ministry, government agencies shall submit their annual reports and plans pertaining to the services provided by them to the disabled.

Article Eight

Pursuant to the provisions of this Law, and in coordination with the Ministry, the competent ministry shall issue and shall grant the technical licenses necessary for operating and practicing services, programs, and activities provided by the non-government sector to the disabled as well as to supervise them.

Article Nine

The state shall set the regulations and limitations that guarantee the right of the disabled to be protected against all forms of violence1 exploitation, and discrimination.

Chapter Two

Responsibilities for Providing Services

Article Ten

The Ministry shall be in charge of coordination with all relevant and competent bodies to secure the welfare and rehabilitation of the disabled in the following spheres.

1. In the social sphere

a. To determine the nature of the disability, its degree and the extent to which it affects the family of the disabled, and to provide the appropriate assistance.

b. To provide special shelter services to the severely disabled and deserted individuals.

c. To support the protection centers.

d. To issue the disabled card.

2. In the Health Sector

a. To diagnose and classify the level of disability’.

b. To guarantee health services that are included in the government health insurance free of charge both to the disabled individual and to his/her family.

c. To provide and upgrade the early detection services for disabilities.

d. To provide the necessary medical equipment and tools to assist the disabled individual in accordance with Article Five of this Law.

e. To provide curative and preventive services that aim at reducing the rate of disability in society.

3. In the education sector

a. To guarantee the right of the disabled to attain equal opportunities to enroll in the various educational and training facilities and in universities in accordance with the curricula determined in these establishments.

b. To provide the educational analysis essential for determining the nature of the disability and its extent.

c. To provide appropriate educational and training curricula and approaches and other suitable facilities.

d. To provide various types and levels of education to the disabled individuals according to their needs.

e. To prepare qualified educators to train the disabled according to the type of disability.

4. In the rehabilitation and occupational sphere

a. To prepare qualified technical personnel to work with the various types of disabilities.

b. To guarantee the right to be enrolled in the various rehabilitation and vocational training facilities pursuant to the various applicable laws and bylaws on the basis of equal opportunity and to provide appropriate vocational training program:~ for the disabled.

c. To compel government and non-government organizations to absorb a number of disabled individuals provided that the number is not less than 5% the number of staff in each organization. The absorption shall be consistent with the nature of work of these institutions, and the work place shall be suitable for the employment of these individuals.

d. To encourage the employment of the disabled in private institutions by deducting part of the salaries from the income tax fixed on these institutions.

5. In the sphere of sports and leisure

a. To provide sports and leisure opportunities to the disabled by rendering the facilities of sports grounds, halls1 clubs and summer camps suitable to the conditions of the disabled and to equip them with the necessary equipment and provisions.

b. To support the participation of the disabled individuals in national and international sports activities and programs.

C. To reduce the entry fee of the disabled into the government cultural, leisurely1 and historical sites by 50%,

6. In the popular awareness sector

a. To carry out public awareness Campaigns about disability in all respects including its causes, consequences and needs.

b. To publish information and data regarding prevention in order to reduce the level of disability in society.

C. To publish general guidance and awareness material for the purpose of integrating the disabled individuals in society.

d. To use sign language in television.

Article Eleven

The state shall strive to incorporate sign language in the government services and facilities.

About Author

Editorial Board - CDS Birzeit, Palestine

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