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. UNRWA’s 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”.
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.
A profile of
conditions for people with disabilities in the occupied Palestinian territory
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,
this would indicate that at least 10,521 people live with disabilities.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
conditions and quality of life, and increased opportunities for people with
disabilities in the Jenin governorate.
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, children’s rights, rights of people with disabilities,
and women’s rights in accordance with international conventions and
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.
The Society serves the northern area of the West Bank, focusing specifically on
the Jenin governorate.
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.
Households of people with disabilities
Children (focusing on inclusion of
children both with and without disabilities)
Poverty stricken and needy families
To improve the social, economic and
environmental conditions of the people with disabilities and their families.
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.
To contribute to the reduction of the
incidence/effects of disability through conducting preventive activities.
To enhance continually enhance the
technical and administrative capacities of the Society
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:
The individual level
The family level
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”
Statistics in this section are drawn from Palestinian Central Bureau of
Statistics & Ministry Of Social Affairs, Disability Report, June 20, 2011