Youth and Disability in Gaza: Challenges and Hopes

"I got the chance to swim in the Gaza Sea for the first time in 20 years." Waffa Abu Zouhry said repeating a statement, which had been said by a man with a disability who had been involved in a psychosocial support program for youth with disabilities in the Gaza strip. This project was implemented last year by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS-PSS) in cooperation with Qatar Red Crescent, Al Fakhoora and the Islamic Development Bank.
 
Abu Zouhry has worked as a monitoring and evaluation officer on the project. She says that the project has achieved great results by giving the youth with disabilities and their families the opportunity to integrate in the local community. She added "At least ten psychosocial sessions and awareness workshops for every family have been provided to let them know how to deal with disabled family members and facilitate their smooth integration at home."
 
"The impact of the project has shown great results among disabled youth and their families by enhancing their ability to talk easily about their ambitions, suffering situations and to express feelings." Moreover, the project included the installation of two elevators in two PRCS branches in Jabilia and Deir-ballh refugee camps to improve access of persons with disabilities (PWD) to PRCS-PSS services. 
 
Waffa added, "The PWDs were interested to participate in relaxation activities and integration sessions which helped them build stronger relationships with other PWDs and develop more connections within the local community." She concluded, "They played football, volleyball and table tennis at the PRCS sports hall in Khan Younis which encouraged us to organize sport competitions between disabled youth in the Gaza Strip and West Bank."

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