Press Conference on the occasion of the international day of PwD 2012

Press Conference on the occasion of the international day of PwD 2012
15 December, 2012

Ramallah- Palestine in the presence of HE Minister of Local Government Dr. Khalid Al Qawasmi, the Italian General Consul in Jerusalem Mr Giampaolo Cantini, Assistant-Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Jihad Zakarneh, and Deputy Minister of Social Affairs Mr. Muhammed Abu Hmeid, General Director of QADER for Community Development Ms. Lana Bandak, and a representatives of Civil Society and media organizations, the Palestinian Municipalities Support Program, QADER for Community Development and Associazione Italiana Solidarietà tra I Popoli (AISPO) held together a press conference on Wednesday 12th of December, 2012 at the Government Media Center in Ramallah, within the celebrations of the International day of Persons with Disabilities.

Minister of Local Government Dr. Khaled Qawasmeh addressed the direction of the Ministry to participate in the social development of persons with disabilities on a collaborative and participatory basis with Ministry of Social Affairs. He also stressed out the importance of the social model adopted by Municipalities of Jericho, Yatta , Samou, Halhoul, and Beit Fajar, which contribute to meeting the needs of persons with disabilities in their communities, improve the services provided to them and contribute to their inclusion into their communities, and have access to all the opportunities and possibilities and enjoyment of full rights and live in dignity on an equal foot with other citizens. Dr. Qawasmi pointed out that what distinguishes this model is opportunities of sustainability through the establishment of investment projects by local authorities, where the profits are allocated to the social services departments and the services provided to persons with disabilities.

For his part, Consul General of Italy in Jerusalem Mr. Jeampaolo Cantini valued the cooperation between Italian and Palestinian the government and local authorities, and stressed out that the accomplishments that have been achieved through the cooperation between the Palestinian Municipalities Support Program, Ministries of Local Government and Social Affairs, local authorities and QADER, in addition to the achievements that AISPO and QADER worked on in collaboration with Ministry of Education through the funding of the Italian cooperation.. He also pointed out that this cooperation is consistent with the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in terms of cooperation between the states and institutions for the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities.

In his turn, Deputy Assistant Minister of Education Dr. Jihad Zakarneh pointed out the achievements of Ministry of Social Affairs  with respect to the inclusion of persons with disabilities, and the Ministry’s endeavor to promote more programs guarantee the rights of persons with disabilities. Deputy Minister of Social Affairs Mr. Mohammed Abu Hameid stressed out the importance of cooperation between the various parties in overcoming the obstacles facing the disability sector. He also expressed the seriousness of the Ministry to develop its various programs to deal with the problems faced by this sector.

Finally, Director General of QADER Mrs. Lana Bandak congratulated the Palestinian people for accepting Palestine the state 194 in the United Nations and highlighted the important contributions announced n the press conference to the Palestinian society, which are in her opinion natural reflection of successful partnerships that demonstrate joint responsibility towards advocacy for the rights of persons with disabilities. She referred to the Teachers’ Advisory Manual developed by QADER and AISPO in 2009, and the decision of the Ministry of Education to adopt it and circulate it to all schools, and an analytical study: entitled "Status of Needs of persons with disabilities and services provided to them in Bethlehem and Hebron Governments” comes within the projects of the Palestinian Municipalities Support Program and its strategic partners; Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Social Affairs.

The study was prepared within the PMSP Programme in the social sector along within its strategic partners, Ministry of Local Government and Ministry of Social Affairs. Particularly the study was prepare in the framework of the social sector project implemented by Municipalities of Beit-Fajjar, Halhoul, Idna, Yatta, Al-Samou’ in partnership with QADER for Community Development.

The study includes five main sections; the first section shows the main characteristics and classifications of Persons with Disabilities in Bethlehem and Hebron In terms of numbers, type and age distribution, gender, social characteristics and the important environmental and physical barriers; the second section presents the general features of organizations which serve and targets persons with disabilities in Bethlehem and Hebron Governorates, and also presents analysis on organizations in terms of geographical distribution, by type of population census , and the number of branches and centers of the organizations,. Additionally, this section shows the nature of key services provided and the beneficiary groups from these services and the type of human and financial resources, equipment and infrastructure, the nature of the relations of cooperation and coordination and networking between the organizations and the active members, and the problems and obstacles faced by organizations.

The third section focuses on the needs of persons with disabilities especially in Yatta, Halhoul, Samou', Idna and Beit-Fajjar. Furthermore, the fourth section wraps up the major conclusions of the status of persons with disabilities in Bethlehem and Hebron, as well as the effect of the organizations, their provided services, and the problems that the disabled persons face. Moreover, the fifth section revolves around the general framework of social centers in the previously mentioned municipalities. The framework has been illustrated in separated reports. Finally the appendixes list the names and the details about all the organizations that the study has covered, several models of interviews were made with these institutions, and the names of the participants in the workshop.

The second released publication is the Teachers Advisory Manual which was prepared in 2009 by QADER and in cooperation with Ministry of Education in the framework of project implemented in the partnership with (AISPO) and funded by the Italian Cooperation, the manual was piloted in several schools. Moreover, in the beginning of 2012 the Ministry of Education decided  on adopting the manual, and to distribute it to all schools in Palestine; the manual was revised by a number of specialists and professionals in the fields of education and disability. It presents a huge number of information and knowledge about several issues relate to persons with disabilities, their rights, the way to communicate with them, and a number of activities that contribute to increasing the level of awareness and promote students' positive attitudes and behavior towards PwD.