WAUK Newsletter 04/10/2016

1. Emergency Community Based Rehabilitation Services for Children with Serious Injuries and Disabilities

The conflict in Gaza in the summer of 2014 left a large number of young people with physical disabilities, or disabilities made more acute through the military strikes and continuous siege conditions.Through ongoing projects WA was able to identify more than 850 children and adults who became newly disabled as a result of the latest conflict, 33% are below 18 years old. This 12 month project, supporting children with serious injuries and disabilities began in April 2016,  and was designed to  provide a range of services including essential medical care, physiotherapy and psychological support as well as assistive devices and where possible home adaptations.

muslim aid cbr pic.pngWA project co-ordinator helping young boy on how to identify colours and shapes
Since the project began our project team identified 1,063 children located throughout Gaza, with serious injuries and disabilities who require urgent support. The project team have so far provided 3,817 rehabilitation sessions which include physiotherapy, and occupational therapy sessions to improve the children’s mobility and co-ordination. During these sessions, both mothers and children are trained to do the basic exercises, so they will be able to continue these unaided once the project ends. So far 184 traumatised children have received counselling support in the 700 sessions provided. During the nursing sessions, individual treatment plans have been designed for each child in consultation with the children and their families.  

For the remainder of the project, the project team will continue these services and plan the home adaptations and distribution of essential assistive devices for the children who need them.

2. Emergency Shelter Rehabilitation for Palestinian Refugees from Syria living in Beddawi and Nahr El Bared Refugee Camps in Lebanon

Lebanon is hosting over 1 million Syrian refugees and over 40,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS). These families arrive with little to no personal assets, household items or seasonally appropriate clothing and the cost of living in Lebanon is notably higher than in Syria. With no funds or assets they are forced to find shelter wherever they can, as a result overcrowded, confined, sub-standard accommodation in unfinished buildings or garages is all some of these families can find and afford to rent. The majority are unable to find any work and are largely dependent on humanitarian aid. Most live in one of the 12 existing UNRWA refugee camps or approximately 39 informal Palestinian settlements, known as “gatherings” that are found throughout Lebanon;  32.96% are in Saida, 18.9% in Beirut, 17.25% in Tyre, 16.1% in the Beqaa, and 15.59% in Tripoli[1]. Approximately 40% are under 18 years of age.

In January 2016, an estimated 5915 Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS) were living in the two refugee camps of Beddawi (3395 individuals) and Nahr El Bared (2520 individuals), located near Tripoli.  This population group joined the impoverished long-term Palestinian refugees in Lebanon (PRL) in the daily

before and after pic.pngBefore and after photo of kitchen rehabilitation works
 struggle for jobs (however insecure, short-term and low-paid), healthcare, affordable housing and education.

To help these vulnerable families cope with the daily struggles while living in such conditions, Welfare Association completed essential shelter rehabilitation works focusing on weatherproofing and installing adequate water and sanitation for the families health. A total of 131 families (510 persons) were supported in the Beddawi and Nahr El Bared camp. The project complied with SPHERE Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response and our engineer’s ensured each house was equipped with water storage capacity of at least 1000 litres (35 litres maximum per person per day.) Adequate toilet, shower and electrical facilities were installed according to each home’s needs. Reinforced concrete works were fitted on the roofs of homes accompanied by steel bars and drainage sloping to stop further leakages from the ceiling. In addition, a range of windows and doors were replaced and repaired which included new locks, frames and handles ensuring security and privacy.

3. Addressing Sight and Hearing Disabilities for Young Children in Gaza 

Sight and hearing impairments, if undetected, will increasingly begin to affect a child’s development both academically and socially and can potentially lead to a range of behavioural issues. With a gap in service provision - as there is no central screening programme focussing on sight and hearing tests for children in Gaza, we have been working with local partner organisation The Mercy Association for Children (MAC) to help improve sight and hearing abilities of young children in Kindergartens.

sight and hearing girl.pngYoung girl receives glasses after first eye examination
The project team arranged eye tests for a total of 7,613 children.  Of these, 934 children were identified as needing glasses. There were further tested to find their exact needs and were provided with glasses. In addition hearing examinations were conducted for 7,013 children and 21 children were found to have hearing disabilities requiring the use of hearing aids. These children were provided with hearing aids and they and their parents were advised on the use and care of these. The project will continue and a further 600 children will undergo hearing examinations and hearing aids will be provided where necessary. These early interventions minimise the physical and social complications children with visual and hearing impairments can otherwise face, and will enable them to maximise their mobility, language and sensory skills development. 

[1]“Profiling the vulnerability of Palestine refugees from Syria living in Lebanon”, by Sawsan Abdulrahim and Jana Harb, published by UNRWA (2015); http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=9684