Access to inclusive education and lobbying for children with intellectual disabilities in Ramallah, Palestine

The Star Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Palestine offers people with disabilities an opportunity for individual and inclusive support and development, regardless of their degree of disability. The aim is to raise awareness in Palestinian society in dealing with people with disabilities and their rights.

Project

The Star Mountain Rehabilitation Center supports people with mental and/or physical disabilities in the areas of education and training, rehabilitation, integration, and inclusion, and contributes to changing the awareness in society of the rights of people with disabilities. The center offers holistic special educational, physio- and occupational therapy care for people with disabilities of all ages. Social workers, physiotherapists and art therapists support the affected families through home visits and thus contribute to the social integration of people with disabilities into society. Children can attend an integrative kindergarten or a special school. Older adolescents also could complete training in the center in the fields of agriculture, manual work, or home economics.

The children and young people come mainly from poor families who cannot afford care and therapy. Smaller agricultural projects run by vocational school students*, the renting of guest rooms and the organisation of summer camps help to additionally finance the work of the center. However, most of the costs are covered by donations.

The special school

The special school of the Star Mountain Rehabilitation Center is attended five days a week (Friday and Sunday are holidays) by 25 to 30 children and young people with disabilities. Here they learn above all to manage their everyday life as independently as possible. Their disabilities are mainly of a mental nature; however, some pupils* also have physical disabilities. The severely disabled and children with autism are also looked after and taken care of for here. The centre therefore offers physiotherapy, art therapy and sports across all programmes – with great success! From national and international art and sports competitions to the Special Olympics, the children and young people of Sternberg have won many prizes.

The integrative kindergarten

The Star Mountain Rehabilitation Center’s kindergarten provides educational and support opportunities according to a pedagogical concept of integration. Part of the approach is to care for and promote children with and without disabilities. The program here also includes creative activities, speech, and physiotherapy.

The vocational training center

In the vocational support center, up to 40 men and women aged between 14 and 45 years are familiarised with agricultural, domestic and craft work. This enables them to participate in working life and earn part of their own living. It is often possible to find a permanent job for vocational school students from the Sternberg after their training. With their care for the olive trees and thyme plants, the young people in the vocational support center contribute to the fair trade of the Herrnhuter Missionshilfe being able to offer olive oil, olive soap and the Za’tar spice mixture, among other things.

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