“When she wakes up, she can’t wait to go to school”

Humanity & Inclusion’s inclusive education project in Gaza, in the Palestinian Territories, provides Nermeen and her daughter Shahed with personalized support and counseling at school and at home.

Shahed, 13, has a physical and learning disability. In the past, her mother, Nermeen, was not closely involved in her daughter's education and found it hard to convince her family to accept invitations from the school. "I didn’t take part in outdoor activities because I was afraid of the negative attitude of my family and friends,” says Nermeen. “I avoided situations where people might make comments or give me accusing looks. I had to stay at home.”

Perceptions of disability

A support group for parents of children with disabilities helped Nermeen overcome her concerns. “I made my daughter my priority. I chose to be strong and with support from the school and the group, I finally convinced my family. I’m free to take part in lots of different school activities now," she explains.

Bringing families out of isolation

The group gives parents a chance to share their daily experiences and problems. This successful initiative provides them with a support network inside and outside meetings. Mothers like Nermeen no longer feel alone: "If I have a problem, I know where to go.”

Looking forward to school

Teachers are in regular contact with Nermeen. They update her on her daughter's progress and use a liaison diary to exchange ideas with her, as they do with other parents. As a result, Shahed and her mother communicate with each other more, and she is more fulfilled. "She feels comfortable at school—she’s happy. She has made a lot of friends. When she wakes up, she can’t wait to go to school.”