Health Care Services and Inclusive Activities for Syrian Refugees with Disabilities in Za'atari Camp, Jordan.

Project location: Jordan, Za'atari refugee camp
Project start date: July 2016 - Project end date: July 2017
Project number: 2016-029
Beneficiary: FundaciĆ³n PromociĆ³n Social de la Cultura (FPSC)


Syrians have been fleeing to Jordan since the conflict started in Syria in 2011. At the beginning of September 2015, more than 629.266 Syrians had fled their homes to reach Jordan. 79.696 are currently located in Za'atari refugee camp in Northern Jordan.

Za'atari camp provides daily support to refugees, including core-relief items and shelter to every family (nearly every family now owns and lives in a caravan), an average of 35 liters of water/person, 2.100 calories/day, plus complementary food, education and health care. Security has improved within the community although Safety Audits continue to cite concerns notably raised by girls, young and adult women about the risks of harassment or violence on the streets, which still deter some girls from attending schools that are too far from home. Sexual and gender based violence and Child Protection concerns remain including among the most prevalent child labor, early marriage and early childbirth, and violence in the home, at school and in the street, among others. Sanitation conditions in the camp have significantly improved since the camp was set up, but hygiene, the spread of diseases and viruses, and care of the most physically vulnerable during periods of more extreme weather conditions in both winter and summer remain a concern. Notably, mental health issues and psychosocial welfare remain prevalent concerns among children, youth and adults in the camp. Many young and adult men and women are emotionally exhausted either from their own or family members’/friends’ past and ongoing experiences in Syria, and from the challenges and frustrations of living in the camp and having limited access to work, freedom of movement, higher education opportunities, adequate health services, preferable living conditions.

The exact numbers of men and women with disabilities and chronic diseases in the camp is not known. However, the recent Comprehensive Child Focused Assessment (UNICEF, June 2015) claims that some 3.3% of all children living in Za’atari camp were reported to have at least one disability or chronic illness. The most commonly reported type of disability was permanent physical disability. Other disabilities affecting also adults in the camp include congenital physical or intellectual disabilities; sensory impairments; war injuries resulting in temporary or permanent physical disability and/or mental health issues; and chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, etc. Besides primary health care services (there are 2 field hospitals operating in the camp, and 9 primary health care centers), these people can access specialized services including rehabilitation services, distribution and adaptation of mobility aids, specialized equipment for those with sensory impairments, special education for children with mild-moderate learning difficulties. However, barriers to full health care and equitable access to services and activities remain including insufficient sources of mobility aids and special material; insufficient maintenance services for mobility aids given the poor conditions of the camp roads; lack of transportation/accompaniment; lack of fully inclusive recreational and educational activities; fear of bullying and stigmatization by the community.

People With Disabilities (PwD) are often marginalized within society, particularly within a humanitarian crisis, often excluded from community, educational and recreational activities or the services and necessary provisions are not physically in place for them to have adequate access and care. Secondary health care by trained physiotherapists along with improvements of mobility through the case-by-case assessment and distribution, repair and maintenance of mobility devices tools ensure PwD in Za'atari Camp have equal opportunities to that of able bodied persons. Similarly, the promotion of the role PwD have in society (through awareness raising and inclusive theater) all play a pivotal role in ensuring PwD are treated with the same human rights and dignity within society. The overall objective of the project is therefore to improve the life of those most vulnerable within the community.

Targeting the percentage of the population with physical and mental disabilities, this will be achieved though striving for the following outcomes: 1.Increased mobility and improved functional abilities of girls, boys, women and men due to provision of appropriate physiotherapy rehabilitation, and/or the case-by-case assessments, and necessary distributions of new, or maintenance of existing mobility aid and disability devices. 2.Increased awareness about the rights of people with disability, the particular protection risks of women, girls, boys and men with disabilities, the services available to them within the camp to Syrian women, girls, boys and men with disabilities and their families/caregivers plus Syrian volunteers, other community members and other NGOs staffs working in Za'atari Camp. This will also include the promotion, modeling and demonstration of 'inclusion' of PwD in recreational and community activities. The overall beneficiaries to be directly served through this project, which received  grant from the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation is approximately 506 persons, made up predominantly of PwD, specifically women and children. Approximately 2,530 persons will also be indirectly benefited from this project.

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