On 7 December, on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) organized an awareness-raising activity for Palestine refugee children with mental disabilities and their parents in Jericho, in the Jordan valley of the West Bank.
Throughout the day, more than 300 Palestine refugee children with mental disabilities attended sports games and recreational activities, while their parents attended awareness-raising activities on how to empower their children to become active members in their society.
The activities were followed by speeches delivered by the Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, Scott Anderson, and representatives of the different attending partners.
The event was organized in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Social Development (MoSD) and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE), as well as other national and international partners, including community-based rehabilitation centres (CBRCs), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR).
The activities aimed to highlight this year’s theme for IDPD, ‘Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want’. This theme notes the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Anderson said, “Persons with disabilities are among the most vulnerable and marginalized groups. Through our programmes, UNRWA works to promote, rehabilitate and equalize opportunities for persons with disabilities and increase their inclusion and full participation in the community.”
Mr. Anderson added: “By being here today, you are all supporting our efforts to raise awareness on disability issues and to draw attention to the benefits of integrating persons with disabilities in every aspect of life.”
The Agency’s work with persons with disabilities emphasizes a multisectoral approach through the strengthening of systematic process for coordination between UNRWA programmes internally, as well as with local partners and ministries.
The UNRWA disability programme has been operational for more than 25 years, partnering with more than 15 local rehabilitation committees located in different refugee camps in the West Bank.
So far this year, the UNRWA West Bank Field Office has assisted more than 4,000 refugees with disabilities and their families by rehabilitating their homes, providing them with aid tools and vocational training, and referring them to specialized institutions.