Today, 24th of Aprill 2019 has been launched in Gaza, the “Independent Living Center” for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), which has been implemented within the project “I-CAN: Indipendence, Capabilities, Autonomy, iNclusion“.
The project, which has been started on May 2018 and is supposed to be completed in 2021, is funded by the Italian Agency Cooperation and Development (AICS) and is implemented in partnership with RIDS (Rete Italiana Disabilità e Sviluppo), FISH (Federazione Italiana Superamento Handicap), the Center for Autonomy “Michele Iacontino” in Rome, the Department of Education of the University of Bologna, UNDP (United Nation Development Program), El Amal and SDF (Social Developmental Forum).
The aim of the project is to strengthen the independence and autonomy of PwDs and in particular of women with disabilities in the Gaza Strip, by the implementation of an Independent Living Center where persons with disabilities are both beneficiaries and protagonists of change in cooperation with local Disabled People Organizations (DPOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs).
The Center represents an innovative space for the Palestinian environment and in particular for the Gaza strip, considering low level of education and social inclusion of persons with disabilities of this area caused by:
- the frequent military operations conducted by the Israely Defence Force;
- the segregation of Gaza which is lasting since more than 10 years;
- the lack of services for persons with disabilities;
- the presence of social stigma in the Palestinian society on disability.
In this context, the center proposes an olistic approach which is intended to strengthen self-esteem and social-economic empowerment of persons with disabilities in order to reduce the social stigma aggravated by lack of job opportunities and social inclusion opportunities.
The center will provide assistive devices and services for people with disabilities and their families, thanks to a team of professionals that includes occupational therapists, social workers, architects (expert on accessibility) and peer counselors (counselors with disabilities who act as role models for other people with disabilities in an inner growth path aimed at awareness and then at empowerment, social emancipation and self-determination.
Here are some photos of the launching event.