1. Improving The Learning Environment For Children With Special Needs in Gaza, Nour El Marifa – Friendly Learning Spaces (£31,494.8)
2. Community Based Rehabilitation in Khan Younis and Rafah, The National Society For Rehabilitation (£63,411)
3. A School Based Counselling Programme For Traumatised Young Children In Gaza, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (£37,304)
4. Addressing Sight and Hearing Difficulties/Disabilities For Children In Kindergartens In Gaza, Al Wefaq Relief And Development Society (£44,557)
5. Establish An Integrated Quality Educational Programme Or “Club” For Children With Special Needs In Gaza, Society For The Care Of The Handicapped In The Gaza Strip (£44,100)
In summary, these 5 projects have:
– Reached out to 1,930 children and their families
– Improved 50% of the skills of the children, thus allowing a further 50% of these children to enter into public schools
– Trainied over 40 teachers and educational professionals
– Established 6 counseling units within 6 public schools for psychological support and 6 summer camps/recreational trips
– Provided 2,680 therapy sessions reaching 1,033 children with disabilities
– Performed hearing and eye examinations for over 4500 children in 30 kindergartens
– Provided 1524 children with hearing aids/eye glasses
Each of the above projects have changed the lives of over 1900 children and their families.
1. Friendly Learning Spaces
Project objective: to improve the basic learning skills of children with special needs with the end result of reintegrating them back into the classroom.
1.4% of all children in Gaza suffer from a disability, with 26.5% relating to congenital factors. Other causes of disabilities include physical or psychological abuse (2.8%), accidents (5.2%), occupation related (2.8%) and hereditary (12.1%). Between 25 – 50% of individuals with disabilities require a form of adaptation within their environment in order to continue with their education and carry out normal productive lives. These adaptations range from infrastructure improvements such as ramps to behavioral support through modified teaching techniques, allowing them to integrate naturally into society.
This project will provide children with special needs residing in the center of Gaza with the appropriate educational and behavioral skills which in turn will enhance their academic performance; engaging them in a broader scope of more interactive based activities. Due to the current political situation in Gaza and the continual depletion of all the cities resources and the prolonged stress within the general community; the need to improve the standard of living for children with special needs is sometimes forgotten.
The physiological nature of the children was also addressed to help the children overcome any challenge that may be hindering their learning abilities. Two psychologists monitored the children’s behavior and therapy sessions were conducted, 36 children in total. 9 weekly groups awareness sessions were carried out (90 in total) focused on increasing the children’s awareness of negative habits and help improve their general skills.
– 80 % of children successfully passed the year and progressed to the next year
– 35 Children were integrated into the mainstream educational system
– 253 Children participated in the new programme with 120 weekly classes and 134 weekly non curricular sessions to 18 groups of children
– 87 Additional weekly supportive sessions in all three subjects
– 30 % of children achieved better scores when compared to the previous semester; the teachers reported improved learning abilities of the children
– 2 Educational trips were arranged; 48 children from the 6th grade visited the Local University in Gaza and 36 children from the 4th grade visited the Al Qattan Centre for the Child
– 25 % increase in the participation and interaction of children with their teachers
– 50 % reduction in the number of daily absences
To date, a general assessment of the project has shown good progress. The children have shown more interest in learning and improved learning abilities. In addition the children have become more involved both within the class room and within the community. The programme has successfully proved effective as children could effectively reintegrate back into the mainstream educational system despite their disability. The children’s state of happiness has also improved, helping them create and experience a better life with improved well-being.
2. Community Based Rehabilitation, Khan Younis and Rafah
Project objective: To ensure the quality of life for 650 children with disabilities and their families, through improving their physical skills and mental abilities using therapy. In addition, households and schools were adapted to better suit the needs of children with disabilities, increasing the ability of disabled children to carry out normal activities.
The statistics have shown that 34.2% of disabled individuals are unable to perform daily activities outside their home, 27.1% do not complete schooling and between 17-34% require modifications within the household/school/work place to allow them to function normally. The Khan Younis and Rafah rehabilitation project aims to combat and overcome these challenges; 200 children in Khan Younis and 450 children in Rafah and their families are directly affected and further aid will be provided to the general public regarding awareness.
This will be achieved through maintaining meaningful and productive roles with responsibility within their families and the society as a whole. The project addresses all aspects of the children’s lives; health both physical and psychological well-being, education and community interactions. Another important aspect addressed is the limited social awareness and understanding within the community of people with disabilities.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, schools were nominated for adaptation to allow children with disabilities to reintegrate back into the mainstream education system with ease and efficiency. Homes were also selected for the required re-adaptation to facilitate the lives of the children and their families. Adaptation examples include making toilette facilities and household entrances more accessible e.g. ramps and railings, building safer environments in kitchens and bedrooms e.g. remove loose wiring and obstacles.
The project will reach out to 650 children and their families to provide a wide range of rehabilitation services in addition to home and school facility adaptation to better suit the lives of the children.
– 2680 Rehabilitation sessions were delivered in homes of 67 beneficiaries; equally divided between physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions
– 8 Homes were selected for adaptation (3 in Khan Younis and 5 in Rafah)
– 32 Public awareness sessions addressing both family and community awareness
– 893 Individuals reached through the public awareness sessions
– 750 Individual psychological therapy sessions to 75 children
– 750 Family counseling sessions with the children and their family members
– 35 Children (15 with disabilities) participated in a recreational trip
– 245 Children in schools attended awareness sessions to combat the negative perception that exists of disabilities
– 8 Schools nominated for adaptation and facilitate the integration and inclusion of children with disabilities
The therapy sessions showed significant improvement in the children’s abilities in addition to the increase in the practical capability of mothers to help and care for their children. Throughout the public awareness sessions, it was found that the number of participants had increased over time; suggesting the effectiveness of the programme. The range of topics ensures complete understanding of all aspects of disabilities, which in turn should improve an individual’s ability to cope and help. Overall, to date the Rehabilitation project has proven successful with more achievements on the horizon.
3. School Based Counseling Programme for Traumatised Young Children in Gaza
Project objective: to help children overcome emotional trauma by providing support and psychological rehabilitation through counseling departments and summer camps.
56.6% of children in Gaza have been reported to suffer from trauma (psychological and emotional), with 10.6% having serve reactions, including mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Since 2000, over 800 students and 36 teachers have been killed, over and above the 7 employees within the Ministry of Education. These numbers do not include the civilians killed or injured throughout the occupation. It is imperative to develop a sound and effective support system to allow individuals affected by trauma to recover and return to as much of a normal life as possible.
Overcoming the trauma created within Palestine due to the numerous military incursions under the restrictive conditions created by the occupation itself, is a major challenge that has been difficult to achieve. This project is one of many trying to make an active effort with the hope of making a difference.
The counseling departments and summer camps form the two main units of the project. Counseling departments will be established and developed within schools. The required resources to maintain and run the facility will be provided; teachers and school employees will have adequate training in addition to parent teacher sessions. The summer camps will function in conjunction with the counseling units to provide an additional support mechanism, where the children can relax and have fun. This will ensure a strong and stable support system for the children to improve their lives and well-being.
– 6 Counseling departments have been established within 6 public schools reaching 1,033 children
– 6 Counseling departments have been provided with all required resources and equipment for effective functioning (furniture, stationary, brochures, signs, teaching guides)
– 24 Hours of training were provided to teachers, management and counsellors
– 2 Support and supervisions are conducted within each unit every week
– 360 Participants took part in the teacher and parent sessions
– 6 Summer camps were organised
– 301 Children participated in the summer camps
– 6 Recreational trips were organised throughout the summer camps
– 154 Participants took part in the 6 awareness sessions for mothers and caregivers provided in the summer camps
Overall, 1,334 children directly benefited from the project and 382 parents benefited from the various awareness sessions and in-service training within the counseling units. The success indicators demonstrated a high attendance and positive feedback regarding the summer camps. With regards to the counseling units; 67.5% of the children reported significant improvement within their lives and learning abilities, school counselors improved their teaching abilities through better structured counseling sessions and parents developed a better understanding of their children’s needs and what is required to help and support them.Additional information regarding the counseling departments has been previous described in the Outcomes Report 2010.
4. Addressing Sight and Hearing Difficulties/Disabilities for Children in Gaza
Project objective: Detect and treat vision and hearing impairments in 30 kindergartens in the Gaza Strip.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency screened 44,553 students in the 7th grade and found 14.5% and 0.9% of individuals suffered from vision and hearing impairments, respectively. 49,398 students were screened in the 4th grade and 12.7% and 1.3% of individuals suffered from vision and hearing impairments, respectively. In addition, the World Health Organisation estimated that 3.3-7.6% new born babies are at risk of hearing impairments.
The project is focused on detecting and treating vision and hearing impairments as early as possible. As a result, physical and social complications will be minimized and allow the children to grow and maintain a healthy living standard with optimum language acquisition, sensory skills and mobility. Appropriate examinations and treatment will be carried out in conjunction with proactive protection schemes, awareness session and recreational activities.
– 30 Kindergartens in Gaza were provided with eye and hearing examinations
– 4559 Received hearing and eye examinations
– 12 Children received hearing aids
– 1512 Children received eye glasses
– 30 Recreational days conducted within the Kindergartens
– 30 Plays were organised and performed within the Kindergartens
– 60 Awareness sessions for care givers were organised
5. Creating a Club for Disabled Children for Educational and Social Support
Over and above the 4559 children who received the required examinations; 1056 care givers (including 900 mothers and 156 kindergarten teachers) attended awareness sessions allowing the overall community understanding of such disabilities to significantly improve. Additional awareness materials were distributed within the community to further enhance the impact of the project. The project also organised plays and open days to create safe and positive environments for children with disabilities to learn, play and interact in. 1524 children were taught with ease and inspiration the ability to cope with their difficulties and how to overcome the challenges that may have been associated with the disability. Interaction between the children and respective community improved; the children’s attitude towards such disabilities changed and the community as a whole realised the importance of detecting hearing and sight issues early on to aid prevention and treatment. Repeating such a project on an annual basis has been recommended as it has shown to enhance the positive nature within the children and the community.
Project objective: to establish an effective educational programme for children with special needs with an aim to re-integrate them into the public education system, inevitably allowing them to reach their full potential.
Two thirds of all children in Gaza and the West Bank do not have safe areas to use for entertainment, socialising and sporting activities. In addition, the overall unemployment rate stands at 23%; making the chances for individuals especially children with special needs to obtain jobs, when they reach a suitable age. The need for safe, motivational and productive learning environments is essential to help the young generation, particularly those with disabilities, build a stable and happy future.
The Society for the Care of the Handicapped in the Gaza strip developed an integrated effective educational programme (club) for children with special needs. The activities and new teaching techniques provided the right environment for children categorised as ‘slow learners’ and ‘under achievers’ to learn and develop which may allow them to re-integrate into the mainstream educational system. The children’s families and communities also played an active role through awareness sessions and workshops.
The club utilized learning methods through activities including plays, recreational trips, role-playing, music, drawing, self-expression and educational films. The project also taught and helped improve children categorised as ‘slow learners’ skills and abilities through stimulating their creativity within the activities. Teachers were trained to help develop and implement the new teaching programme. Through joint activities, parents and care givers were also be provided with and in turn provide further support for their children. Additionally, the center itself was refurbished and better equipped with all the required resources including an in house cinema to ensure the creation of a happy positive learning environment for the children and their families.
– 16 Teachers will be trained to improve their skills and educational material will be provided
– 202 Children will participate in the programme and hopefully result in an improvement of their quality of life
– 64% of children will improve their mental, sensory and cognitive skills
– 11% of children entered into public schools
– 1 Centre will be refurbished and re-equipped providing a safe and positive environment for learning and development
Feras, a six years old child with a disability, was enrolled in The Centre of the Society of Physically Handicapped People (SPHP). Feras has been suffering from muscular atrophy since birth. The manager of the center reported issues with Feras’s hearing, in addition to the worsening of his learning abilities. The parents were informed of Feras condition and advised to carry out further examination of their sons condition. However, his father is responsible for a large family including two children with disabilities and his wife is suffering from cancer and could not afford the examination and treatment. Through this project; Feras was provided with hearing and sight examinations, and once diagnosed with extreme loss of hearing had received two hearing aids. Thankfully, Feras showed a remarkable increase in attention, concentration, and interaction with his classmates and teachers. Additionally, his learning capabilities have began improving.
“Before this project, Feras hated going to the centre. The staff there used to raise their voice for him to hear. In contrast, Feras thought that they were shouting at him. This made him ashamed and embarrassed. He told me that he was not hearing well.” “Even his classmates were not talking to him lately as they had to raise their voices. Feras has not been able to communicate with them. Now and after receiving hearing aids, Feras told me that he hears voices around him clearly. He understands what the teachers say well. He has friends now. He plays with them. Thank you for supporting this project that has helped my child so much.”