​​Action around Bethlehem Children with Disability


Dedicated to improving the quality of life of disabled children in the West Bank
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Jalazone Refugee Camp

Jalazone Refugee Camp near Ramallah started in 1948 with 3,500 people, it now houses around 15,000 residents.  The Camp occupies 2 square kilometres, the same as it did when set up in 1948.  Schools for Camp children, run by UNWRA (United Nations Works Relief Agency) have had to be built outside the camp, which in itself presents problems as there is an Israeli Settlement, Bet Eil, just on the outer boundary of the Camp.  There is a great deal of tension between the Camp’s residents and those of the Settlement.

​Life for refugee children in this camp is particularly harsh.   Unemployment stands at 60%, there are high levels of disability, with limited services in place to address this.  The supply of water to the camp is often rationed, and extreme poverty and overcrowding prevail.
​All refugee camps fall outside the Palestinian Authority's remit so there is little by way of state assistance and prior to ABCD's involvement, there were no other external agencies working in the camp apart from UNWRA.   Unfortunately, because of the escalating conflict in the Middle East, UNWRA's funding is under threat and they have had to cut back their financial aid to all camps in the West Bank by 65% leaving a gaping hole in the service provision for vunerable children. 

​Jalazone - Before ABCD Funding

​Jalazone - After ABCD Funding

​ABCD's research has shown that there is a large incident of disability in Jalazone.   Our support started in March 2014, following an exploratory visit by ABCD Trustee, UK based Palestinian, Firas Sarhan.   Firas introduced ABCD to the extent and needs of disabled children in Jalazone.   ​The Centre for the disabled, at that time, was in poor condition with very limited equipment, it was in dire need of refurbishment and equipment.   The Centre had on it's books 140 ambulatory cases, 70 with mental disability, 24 with hearing issues and 150 with visual impariment.  Autism has been diagnosed only recently and is an increasing problem.​  ​​There are a growing number of children in need of trauma counselling - many are injured and disabled from gunshot wounds.  Since then over the past two years we have worked with the Jalazone Governing Committee to set up paediatric rehabilitation programmes to addressing these needs with special attention being paid to those under 6 years.   ​ABCD have refurbished and extended treatment areas, provided up to date rehabilitive equipment.  We are also paying the salaries of two therapists, whose enthusiasm and determination to improve the quality of life in the camp is outstanding.