Disability should never stand as a barrier for our goals and dreams.

08 February 2021
Thanks to the generous support and financial assistance of the European Union, UNRWA is able to provide sewing machines and mobile maintenance kits to Palestine refugees with disabilities, UNRWA Damascus Training Centre, Syria © 2020 UNRWA Photo.

After more than nine years of conflict, the situation in Syria remains unstable, and the scale, severity and complexity of needs remain high. A rapidly deteriorating economy and rising inflation are driving the population, including Palestine refugees, into further vulnerability. Among the most vulnerable are Palestine refugees living with disabilities.

UNRWA is committed to ensuring that all its programming and services are inclusive and that persons with disabilities have equal opportunities to participate and benefit from the Agency’s assistance. With the support of the European Union, a strong and continuous supporter of this work, UNRWA is able to support persons with disabilities with livelihood opportunities facilitating inclusion, strengthening resilience and empowering them to become agents of change in their own lives and communities.

UNRWA was able to provide vocational training to 54 persons with disabilities during 2020. UNRWA has offered two short courses for persons with disabilities: one in mobile maintenance, completed by 27 students (all males), and one course on sewing techniques completed by 27 students (14 female and 13 male).

  1. Waleed, a 41-year-old father of five, lives in Khan Dunoun Palestine refugee camp. With a physical disability, he was struggling to find a job which would ensure a stable financial income to support his family.  Despite the challenges posed by having an artificial limb, Waleed joined a three-month training course to strengthen his knowledge and skills in mobile phones maintenance. With the toolkit UNRWA provided him to help him start his own small business, he now works from his house and encourages his friends to take similar courses.

     
  2. “My dream is to have my own sewing workshop to teach and provide employment to other young girls with disabilities like me,” said proudly Raneem reflecting on how lucky she was to have the opportunity to be enrolled in the UNRWA training course. Raneem, displaced from Yarmouk to Al-Kisweh, is a 20-year-old Palestine refugee. Due to her hearing impairment, she often visited the development centre at the UNRWA supported Community Based Organization in Husseiniyeh, where she learnt about the short-term courses in sewing, she later enrolled in. Raneem has left the training centre with a baggage of new experiences, new skills, a brand-new sewing machine and a message for her peers, “Don’t let your disability stop you and join these courses.”
      European Union generous support enabled UNRWA to provide a sewing machine to Palestine refugees with disabilities to help them start their business, UNRWA Damascus Training Centre, Syria © 2020 UNRWA Photo.
    European Union generous support enabled UNRWA to provide a sewing machine to Palestine refugees with disabilities to help them start their business, UNRWA Damascus Training Centre, Syria © 2020 UNRWA Photo.

     
  3. Ahmed Qasim Rudaini, is a short-term UNRWA training centre graduate. Thanks to the training he received, he managed to open his own mobile maintenance shop, which is now the main source of income for his family of five. Ahmed, a 44 years-old Palestine refugee, lives in Al-Bahdalieyeh, rural Damascus, with his wife, two sons and one daughter. The toolkit provided by UNRWA at the graduation ceremony, are the foundation of his work and he looks forward to developing his business. “Disability, like my amputated limb, should never stand as a barrier for our goals and dreams,” he said.
    The mobile maintenance training provided by UNRWA with funds from the European Union will empower Palestine refugees with disabilities and help them improve their economic situation, UNRWA Damascus Training Centre, Syria © 2020 UNRWA Photo.
    The mobile maintenance training provided by UNRWA with funds from the European Union will empower Palestine refugees with disabilities and help them improve their economic situation, UNRWA Damascus Training Centre, Syria © 2020 UNRWA Photo.

     
  4. When Zakaria Eid Meri, graduated from the sewing short-term course at UNRWA Damascus Training Centre, he did not have to wait long before finding a job in this field. While dreaming of one day having his own workshop, the 35 years old Palestine refugee from Khan Dunoun camp, is now working for a sportswear manufacturer. “Adapting to life with a disability is never easy, but there are ways to help yourself cope with your disability,” he said. Sewing is Zakaria’s passion, and it has been for long, it allows the father of two to express his creativity. “The course I was able to join and complete is a great achievement and source of satisfaction. It gave me and the other participants the opportunity to learn new skills which will be useful in the job market,” he said while collecting his diploma, the toolkit gift and the round of applause of those present at the ceremony.
    Thanks to the generous support and financial assistance of the European Union, UNRWA is able to provide sewing machines and mobile maintenance kits to Palestine refugees with disabilities, UNRWA Damascus Training Centre, Syria © 2020 UNRWA Photo.
    Thanks to the generous support and financial assistance of the European Union, UNRWA is able to provide sewing machines and mobile maintenance kits to Palestine refugees with disabilities, UNRWA Damascus Training Centre, Syria © 2020 UNRWA Photo.

 

The Member States of the European Union have decided to link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders.

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of UNRWA and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.