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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
16 March 2011

Young Disabled Refugees Lead the Way at Winter Camp

Jericho, West Bank — Mustafa Abu Khurj, from Jenin refugee camp, was injured during the first Intifada, and is now in a wheelchair. His disability, as well as Israeli access restrictions in the West Bank, makes travel difficult. An event organised by UNRWA this winter gave Mustafa a rare chance to travel and meet new people.

The four-day leadership event for young refugees with disabilities was organised by UNRWA’s disability programme in cooperation with community organisations and local NGOs. Attended by nearly 50 young men and women with special needs, the training aimed to create a positive environment and build the confidence of the participants.

New Opportunities

Mustafa receives education and healthcare from UNRWA, as well as counselling and psychological support from a local Palestinian organisation. His disability does not prevent him from taking part in the life of the community in Jenin, particularly through basketball, his favourite sport.

But the Jericho event was a unique opportunity to find out about the experience of disabled people in different areas of the West Bank, he says. “Here, I’m able to meet new people, exchange ideas, and share my experiences”

Educating the Community

The event focused on advocating for the rights of disabled people within their communities, and adapting to some of the difficulties of having a disability. Discussions focused on the rights of people with disabilities, and how to ensure that their needs are considered in community planning. Another activity looked at how to combat violence directed at people with disabilities.

Mustafa hopes that similar training courses will be organised for other community groups to educate them about the needs of people with disabilities. “This event really helped me to overcome all the obstacles I usually face,” he said.

“I think it was a great idea.”

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