Palestine: Rehabilitation programme

Reintegration of young people with disabilities and traumas. This programme tries to enable them to reintegrate into the social and professional life.

Background and programme context

The occupation of the Palestinian territories, which has lasted for more than 50 years, and the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has lasted for more than 12 years, have many negative consequences for the civilian population, such as violation of basic human rights, restricted freedom of movement, physical injuries and psychological trauma or economic distress.
In recent years, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has resulted in thousands of injured people who have to learn to live with a permanent disability, psychological or physical. These are mainly paraplegia, walking disabilities, visual and perceptual disorders after gunshot wounds and post-traumatic disorders (sleep disorders, depression, paranoia, breakdown of social contacts or apathy).

The year 2019 was marked by increased settlement activity in the Palestinian territory. Meanwhile, the political climate, which remains very tense, is not helping to improve the situation. The opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, on the anniversary of the Palestinian occupation, led to serious riots. In 2019 there was a further rapprochement between the US and Israel when US President Trump declared that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank would not be considered illegal. Furthermore, the lack of aid funds poses further problems for the Palestinian people and aid organisations on the ground.

The economic situation in the Palestinian territory leads to high unemployment. In 2017, 27.4% of the total population was unemployed. The picture is even more dramatic among young people (15-24 years), 43% of whom are not in employment. Among young women, the figure was as high as 70.2% last year. People with disabilities find almost no place in the labour market. Thus 87% of people with disabilities over 18 years of age are unemployed.

Target Groups

Every year, approximately 600 children and young adults with disabilities and trauma throughout the West Bank benefit directly from the programme's services. In addition, around 160 therapists* from the programme and other organisations receive theoretical and practical training and further education.

Aims

The rehabilitation programme aims to support adolescents as well as children and young adults with disabilities and traumas in their social and professional reintegration. The mental health of the Palestinian society is improved through therapeutic offers and preventive measures.

Activities & Effects

Psychosocial Counselling Services

Activities
  • Psychosocial counselling/therapy for teenagers and young adults.
  • Formation of support teams in the environment of the beneficiaries.
  • Organisation of leisure activities.
Effect

Adolescents as well as children and young adults with disabilities or trauma can better cope with their impairment/trauma.

School and Vocational Reintegration

Activities
  • Vocational counselling, clarification of professional skills and, if required, manual training in own workshop.
  • construction of handicapped accessible homes for the beneficiaries and at public facilities, such as schools.
  • Initiation and support of small businesses of young adults with disabilities and traumas.
  • Placement and promotion of school reintegration (e.g. remedial teaching).
  • Contributions to necessary technical assistance and medical treatment.
Effect

The beneficiaries are physically and economically independent.

Awareness Raising and Public Relations Work

Activities
  • Advice for family members of the beneficiaries.
  • Capacity building for the Palestinian Disability Union.
  • Public events organised by people with disabilities and traumas.
  • Annual TV campaigns on trauma and impairment.
  • Lobbying activities for the rights of people with disabilities and for the implementation of the Palestinian Disability Act.
Effect

Families/relatives as well as society, companies and the government are aware of the needs and rights of people with disabilities or trauma and provide support.

Further Training for Therapists

Activities
  • Implementation of training and further education in therapy methods for therapists of the YMCA East Jerusalem and other organizations.
  • Participation in and co-organization of national and international conferences on topics such as rehabilitation, trauma or disability rights.
Effect

Palestinian therapists are developing their knowledge, skills and treatment techniques.

Results 2019

Psychosocial counselling services
  • 978 persons with impairments/traumas, of which 731 or 88% were young people aged 12-25 years, received effective psychosocial and therapeutic support. 91% of the treated children and adolescents report, after completion of the therapy, that they are better able to cope with their trauma or impairment and 97.5% feel a noticeable improvement in their quality of life.
  • A total of 9,387 therapy sessions were conducted.
  • In order to ensure the mobility and independence of the beneficiaries, support was provided for 36 structural adjustments in residential buildings (e.g. construction of wheelchair-accessible ramps at the entrance, conversion of WC/bathroom).
  • 69 beneficiaries received medical aids such as prostheses, walking aids or wheelchairs.
  • Physiotherapy was organised for 13 people with physical disabilities.
School and vocational reintegration
  • 704 young people were supported in their professional reintegration.
  • 12 young adults were supported in setting up their own small business.
  • 128 young people received vocational training (e.g. IT, mechanics, design, sewing, etc.)
  • 127 children were supported in their school reintegration through remedial teaching.
  • 26 children and young people with physical disabilities were supported in their mobility and independence by adapting buildings.
Awareness raising and public relation work
  • 5'542 people were reached with awareness raising activities.
  • 9 Memoranda of Understanding on improving access to employment for people with disabilities have been signed with the private sector.
  • Together with the Palestinian Disability Coalition, various activities and workshops were carried out on the topic of "Protection from violence for women with disabilities.
  • Together with the National Alliance for the Employment of People with Disabilities, a conference on "Vocational training for people with disabilities" was organized.
Continuing education for therapists
  • 88 project staff members participated in training courses from the YMCA East Jerusalem and other organisations.
  • 7 employees took part in training courses abroad lasting several days
  • 36 Palestinian students of psychology and social work completed a 4-month internship in the reintegration programme.
  • 94.6% of the trained and further trained therapists apply newly acquired knowledge and skills in their work.

Results 2018

Psychosocial Counselling Services

  • 579 people with disabilities/trauma (Objective 600), of whom 445 or 77% were young people aged 12-25 years, received effective psychosocial and therapeutic support.
  • 7,047 individual therapy sessions were held.
  • In order to ensure the mobility and independence of the beneficiaries, 36 structural adaptations in residential buildings (e.g. construction of wheelchair-accessible ramps at the house entrance, conversion of WC/bathrooms) were supported.
  • 64 beneficiaries received medical aids such as prostheses, walking aids or wheelchairs.
  • Physiotherapy could be organised for 18 people with physical disabilities.

School and vocational reintegration

  • 334 beneficiaries (Objective 300) improved their opportunities to be economically active.
  • 94 beneficiaries were able to complete vocational training in their own workshops or in an external company.
  • The programme was able to find 40 beneficiaries a job with private companies.
  • Individual career counselling was provided to 191 beneficiaries, 92 of whom were reached thanks to the mobile counselling unit.
  • The programme supported the development of 9 small businesses, which are run independently by beneficiaries. Of these, 3 were initiated by women.
  • Thanks to remedial education for 199 beneficiaries and transport assistance for 20 beneficiaries a total of 199 young people were able to return or continue to attend school/university.

Awareness raising of families and society

  • The family members were included in the therapies and consultations (Objective 1,500 persons; the exact number of family members was not recorded).
  • 67 meetings were held with other NGOs also working in the fields of health and people with disabilities.
  • At 2 meetings with the Ministry of Labour, a list of indicators suitable for the disabled was proposed.
  • 81 workshops and information events were held to raise awareness of the needs and rights of people with disabilities.
  • 27 activities were carried out in schools and universities with the same aim. As a direct result, support committees have been established at 14 schools to promote the rights of pupils with disabilities.
  • 26 leisure and relaxation activities were carried out for traumatised children and their parents.
  • A total of 5,142 people were reached through awareness campaigns.

Continuing education for therapists

  • 99 therapists in the reintegration programme have undergone further training.
  • 171 therapists from other organisations were trained and further educated.
  • 27 students from the fields of social work and psychology completed a four-month internship in the reintegration programme.

Locations

SRF mitenand: Palestinian Youth - Rehabilitation after trauma

Project visits

Palestine

Further information

Flag of Palestine
Facts about the program

Title: Reintegration of Young People with Disabilities and Traumas in Palestine
Partner organization: East Jerusalem YMCA: Rehabilitation Program
Locations: Beit Sahour, Hebron, Jenin, Jerusalem, Nablus, Ramallah, Tulkarem
Objective: to support children and young adults with disabilities and traumas in their social and professional reintegration, including therapeutic measures
Target group: 600 young people, 200 beneficiaries with career guidance, 160 trained therapists
Required funds 2020: CHF 210'000
Duration: 2018-2020 / Programme Phase VIII
Responsible: Isabelle Aebersold, isabelle.aebersold@horyzon.ch

Facts about Palestine

Capital: East Jerusalem
Population: 4.9 mill.
Human Development Index: 0.690 (rank 119.)
Life expectancy: 73.9 years
Median age: 20.5 years
Youth unemployment (15-24 years): 46.8%

Source: Human Development Report