UNRWA school teacher Abdul-Rahman Hamdan has dedicated his spare time to improving classroom accessibility for his students with disabilities at the UNRWA Nuseirat School in Gaza. Together with his colleague Mr. Shaher Yaghi Hamdan, the school’s special education needs supervisor, he uses pieces of broken chairs, desks, and car seats to build new disability-friendly desks and seating for his students with disabilities.
With the comfort of his students in mind, Mr. Hamdan creates desks that move to accommodate his student’s needs. These desks are adjustable and vary in height and width for added comfort and accessibility. He has also been able to create chairs with wheels for increased mobility and comfort over long class periods.
Mr. Hamdan highlights that each desk costs approximately US$ 50 to make, including recycled materials. When compared to the cost of ready-made new specialty desks and chairs, ranging between US$ 350-400, Mr. Hamdan has been able to create high-quality, long-lasting items at a fraction of the cost to the school.
UNRWA has actively promoted an inclusive education system where each and every student’s potential for learning and different learning needs are recognised. Ensuring a physically accessible environment and learning space means removing any barriers that can hinder access, learning, development and participation.
In 2017, UNRWA finalised its Disability Inclusion Guidelines, which aimed to build the capacity of different staff on disability inclusion in different programmes across the Agency. To date, some 200 UNRWA staff have been trained in how to use the Guidelines. UNRWA has since been proud to identify and provide assistance for an estimated 299 persons with disabilities who experience a protection risk.
By the end of 2017, UNRWA designed inclusive play spaces in Rashidieh refugee camp, southern Lebanon. Also through the Learning Support Programme, UNRWA has been able to provide some 3,990 Palestine refugee children in Lebanon with support for disabilities and learning difficulties. Through comprehensive health screening processes for children between 1-3 years-old, the Agency is able to identify disability needs early in life. In total, the UNRWA Disability Programme helps to facilitate access to rehabilitation services and disability-speciﬁc support for an estimated 13,143 Palestine refugees with disabilities.