The mandate of HI in Gaza and throughout the Palestinian territories is to improve the daily lives of the most vulnerable including people with disabilities.
HI's information stand at a mine awareness event in Gaza. | © Tom Shelton / HI
HI has been working in Palestine since 1996 with a main mandate to support disability organizations. In 1999, the organization launched an education initiative on the risks of landmines and other explosive remnants of war. A large number of development initiatives have since been run, in partnership with local associations: functional rehabilitation, psychosocial support, access to education and adaptation of homes for people with disabilities.
Ongoing projects include improving access to basic services including rehabilitation and psychosocial support for people with disabilities. HI supports the inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream schools. The association also leads a program to better include people with disabilities in the contingency plans in case of crisis.
The association also supports poor households living with a person with disabilities affected by COVID-19 crisis through temporary food assistance and sustainable economic recovery.
Faced with an ongoing crisis with Israel and a long-standing blockade in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian people, including people with disabilities, get by as best they can.
The living conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories remain very tense and Palestinians living in the Gaza strip and the West Bank are particularly vulnerable. The already precarious socio-economic situation heavily deteriorated since the COVID pandemic. Due to lack of employment opportunities and restrictions of movement of goods and people, unemployment rate has skyrocketed. With service sectors and non-governmental organizations resources stretched thin, Palestinians are struggling to meet their basic needs, especially persons with disabilities who are often overlooked and lack proper representation in development and relief efforts.
In the Gaza Strip, last resurgences of violence in 2018-2019 and in May 2021 have led to further isolation of the most vulnerable segments of society with increasing difficulties to access care and employment opportunities as well.
People with disabilities have to contend with discrimination at every level of society, in particular in the areas of education and employment. This situation is especially problematic for women with disabilities and the mothers of children with disabilities.
Number of HI staff members: 27
Program launch date: 1996