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Al Jaleel Society >> >> about us

Al Jaleel Society

About Al Jaleel


Al Jaleel Charitable Society for Care and Community Rehabilitation was established in 1991 as the Local Rehabilitation Committee (LRC), as part of the Disability Program of the Relief and Social Services Program of UNRWA in the Jenin Refugee Camp. The mission of the Disability Program is to  promote, rehabilitate and create equal opportunities for people with disabilities, and to increase their inclusion and full participation in the community through community-based rehabilitation, consistent with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. UNRWA launched its work on disabilities in the early 1980's focusing mainly on the health and physical aspects of rehabilitation. By the 1990's the agency had orientated itself towards prevention, rehabilitation, and equal opportunities. UNRWAs policies are still evolving, moving away from a purely medical approach, and is now working to develop a more social model of disability, which promotes social inclusion and a participatory approach.[1] 

In 2010, LRC established itself as an independent Palestinian non-governmental organization  under the name of Al Jaleel. Al Jaleel currently offers a wide range of services and programs ranging from summer camps and social activities promoting inclusion, to providing economic support,  to  therapy programs which focus primarily on patients with cerebral palsy, providing prostheses and assistive devices. Al Jaleel is expanding in its current location in order to better serve its clients.


Background and Context



A profile of conditions for people with disabilities in the occupied Palestinian territory[2]


According to a 2011 study by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA), the rate of disabilities in the Jenin governorate at 4.1% of the population is higher than in any other place in the West Bank and Gaza. The rate is significantly more (58% higher) than the national average of 2.6%.  With 2007 census figures calculating the population of the governorate to be 256,620[3], this would indicate that at least 10,521 people live with disabilities[4]. The most common form of disability is motor-disability comprising 49% of people with disabilities in the occupied Palestinian territories. Disabilities marginalize people from participation in social and civic and productive life. The following statistics pertaining to people with disabilities aged 18 or older from the PCBS study illustrate this:


         Over 76% of people with disabilities age 18 and older do not use public transport because of inadequate infrastructure to address their needs.

         34.2% are unable to perform daily activities outside their homes.

         22.2% have dropped out of school.

         8.7% report having avoided some activities owing to their treatment by others.


Palestinian public and private infrastructure is sadly ill-equipped to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Modified bathrooms and kitchens, ramps, elevators and visual alerts or alarms have been identified as priorities.  33.7% of people with disabilities require modified bathrooms. For young people with disabilities, nearly 30% require modifications to classrooms, 19.2% to school buildings, 16.2% to school toilets, and 23.7% to means of transport to facilitate their access to school. 85.6% of people with disabilities in the West Bank over the age of 15 do not work. 35.5% of disabled persons in the West Bank aged 15 and over have never enrolled in school, and 37% have dropped out of school. 51.5% of disabled people in the West Bank are illiterate.




Attitudes towards People with Disabilities in Palestinian Society; and the Palestinian Context.


In a 1997 article, Disability and gender at a crossroads: a Palestinian perspective, Leila Atshan offers a concise history of Palestinian attitudes towards people with disabilities tracing them from the pre-1948 period until after the end of the first Intifada[5].  She outlines how disabilities in Palestine are traditionally a source of shame not only for the individual who is affected by them, but also for their families. Families may hide their children with disabilities for fear it will reflect poorly on them and their other children. According to Atshan, the establishment of UNRWA and the care for people with disabilities under the UN mandate started an evolution towards regarding disability as a rights issue. She argues that in the 1980s, the UN adopted a community-based rehabilitation model (discussed below) and Disability took on a political and nationalist gloss during and after the first Intifada, when those wounded in the resistance struggles were praised as heroes and those taking care of them were seen as virtuous.  Nevertheless, Atshan concludes that the status of the disabled has not improved substantially overall.  Palestinians with disabilities still face discrimination, whether overt or more subtly in their exclusion from resources, education and work, and the marginalization they experience in their status, social and civic life. While increased care has focused mostly on the physical rehabilitation of people with disabilities, only recently have efforts been made to address the psycho-social aspects of disability.


As part of the evolution of attitudes, in 1999 the Palestinian Authority developed a disability rights laws declaring that people with disabilities must enjoy rights and dignity as full and equal human beings.  This was seen as the basis for a more inclusive society. The law was passed and Palestinians can boast of having the most progressive disability legislation in the region[6].  Since 1999, awareness of issues pertaining to disability has increased as the second Intifada brought about a new generation of wounded people, who have gained international notice especially in Jenin. There has been a growth of attention to the rights of the disabled as Palestinian non-governmental organizations in general have shifted to a more broadly rights-based approach. While the number of organizations supporting people with disabilities through therapies, advocacy, education, infrastructure, and awareness-raising has grown substantially in the past decades, the increasing geographic fragmentation of the West Bank from Gaza, and the difficulties of movement in the West Bank have hindered the effectiveness of national efforts. More local organizations must now work hard to meet the broad needs of their




Improved living conditions and quality of life, and increased opportunities for people with disabilities in the Jenin governorate.



Al Jaleel Charitable Society for Care and Community Rehabilitation was established in 1991 as the Local Rehabilitation Committee (LRC) under the umbrella of UNRWA in the Jenin Refugee Camp and obtained its independent NGO status in 2010. The Society seeks to enhance the health, and physical, social, economic, and environmental conditions of people with disabilities and their families.  It does this by providing counseling and rehabilitation services; by providing equipment suitable to facilitate mobility of people with disabilities; by adapting homes to meet their needs; by offering vocational training and increasing job opportunities to promote self-sufficiency; by supporting the inclusion of people with disabilities in society; and by establishing revolving funds to provide small loans to those in need.



The society has three core values that are central to its identity, work, and what it aspires to be:


1) Human Rights:

Respect for human rights, childrens rights, rights of people with disabilities, and womens rights in accordance with international conventions and declarations.

2) Social Justice:

Supporting and promoting equal opportunities, social justice, equality, and political and religious neutrality.

3) Organizational Responsibility:

Transparency, democracy, teamwork, respect and tolerance.


Target Area

The Society serves the northern area of the West Bank, focusing specifically on the Jenin governorate.

Target Group

1.       People with disabilities: primarily those with mobility issues or suffering from cerebral palsy; as well as those suffering from speech impediments or who are in need of speech therapy.


2.       Households of people with disabilities


3.       Children (focusing on inclusion of children both with and without disabilities)


4.       Poverty stricken and needy families

Strategic Objectives


1.       To improve the social, economic and environmental conditions of the people with disabilities and their families.


2.       To increase the level of awareness about, and community interest and investment in people with disabilities, and their rights and issues;  and to further their inclusion in society.


3.       To contribute to the reduction of the incidence/effects of disability through conducting preventive activities.



4.       To enhance continually enhance the technical and administrative capacities of the Society


Strategic Approach


Al Jaleel employs a strategic approach based upon the principles of community-based rehabilitation (CBR). The organization focuses on three levels of activity in its interventions to support and assist people with disabilities:



1.       The individual level

2.       The family level

3.       The level of the community at large


CBR is described by the World Health Organization as follows:

Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) focuses on enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families, meeting basic needs and ensuring inclusion and participation. CBR was initiated in the mid-1980s but has evolved to become a multisectoral strategy that empowers people with disabilities to access and benefit from education, employment, health and social services. CBR is implemented through the combined efforts of people with disabilities, their families, organizations and communities, relevant government and non-government health, education, vocational, social and other services[7]



[1] See Relief and Social Services Disability Programme at

[2] Statistics in this section are drawn from Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics & Ministry Of Social Affairs, Disability Report, June 20, 2011 retrieved from:


[4] It should be noted that the 2007 census calculates there to be 14,893 people living in Jenin with disabilities; with disability incidence as follows (noting that individuals may have more than one type of disability): Speech: 2189, Cognition: 2031, Mobility: 6082, Hearing: 3792, Sight: 8821. 

[5] Atshan, Leila, Disability and gender at a crossroads: a Palestinian perspective, in Gender and Disability: Womens experiences in the Middle East, Lina Abu Habib, ed. 1997: Oxfam, p. 53ff.

[6] See Disability in Palestine: Realities and Perspectives,  Dr. Allam Jarar in This Week in Palestine, September 2009.