THE JERUSALEM PRINCESS BASMA CENTRE FOR DISABLED CHILDREN
Based on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, the Princess Basma Centre works to empower disabled children and facilitate their integration into Palestinian society. They offer rehabilitative and therapeutic services to hundreds of children each year, and they provide an inclusive education to hundreds more. They work with parents, families, communities and policy makers, in order to educate people on the rights of disabled children and to create a society in which disabled children can flourish.
HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION
The Basma Centre is founded on its medical and rehabilitative expertise. As one of three 'National Resource Centres' in the occupied Palestinian territories, they provide a crucial service for disabled children and their families throughout East Jerusalem and the West Bank. This work is informed by a holistic view of disabilty, which considers both the impairment of the individual, and the social barriers that restrict the individual's life choices.
The Basma Centre is at the forefront of integrated education in Palestine. Its inclusive school - which opened in 1987 - enrols children between 4 and 18 years old, and with a range of abilities. Many of the teaching staff also have a disability. In a society where a third of disabled children are not enrolled in school, and fewer still are educated alongside able-bodied children, this school plays a key role in working to normalise disability in Palestinian society.
Collaboration is central to the Basma Centre's work. Staff regularly visit communities to conduct training sessions, in order to equip parents and health workers to play a leading role in the rehabilitation and social integration of disabled children. This approach - of training non-professionals - enables the centre not only to reach more children, but also to promote an understanding of disability rights among families and communities. In the West Bank, where the Israeli occupation imposes a network of roadblocks and checkpoints, a community-based approach also reduces the need for families to seek the support they need.