As part of”Disability Under Siege” Project, IUG holds two workshops on the impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Palestinians with Disabilities
Two focus group interviews (workshops) were held at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) as part of COVID-19 Comparative Case Study involving University of Birmingham and other universities in the UK, Lebanon and Birzeit University. These research-oriented workshops aimed at identifying key common challenges (difficulties) facing Palestinians Persons with Disability (PPWD) in the fields of education, health and social and economic services offered to them during Covid-19 crisis in the Gaza Strip. They also aimed at identifying context-based suggestions and measures to overcome these challenges identified.
This 6-month case study is one of several ones to be conducted in full cooperation with university partners involved in the 4-year Disability Under Siege (DUS) Project funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of Global Challenges Research Council (GCRF) Network Plus.
Professor Dina Kiwan, Principal Investigator to DUS project, University of Birmingham, UK, welcomed and thanked all participants for their participation in these workshops and she exchanged with them potential ideas for future cooperation, including linking Palestinian persons with disability with British counter partners as well Palestinian parents of PWD with British parents of PWD.
Facilitated by both Dr Nazmi Al-Masri, Co-Principal Investigator to DUS project at IUG, and Mr Baha Alddin Serhan, IUG Centre for Disability and Inclusion Services both workshops took place in well located and well-equipped rooms at IUG. Dr Al-Masri pointed out that the first 5-hour workshop involved 16 participant students and graduates with different types of disability: mobility/ physical, hearing, vision and intellectual/ cognitive. This group also included 3 parents of children with disability. Divided into 3 groups; each group included participants with similar disability, they all discussed how has COVID-19 affected access to multi-sectoral services, including health, education and community services for Palestinians with different types of disabilities in the Gaza Strip.
The second workshop involved 19 policy makers and stakeholders working at different governmental institutions and both local and international NGOs providing educational, health and socio-economic services in the Gaza Strip. In addition to discussing the challenges and suggestions to provide quality sectoral services to persons with different disability in context of conflict and emergencies, the participants discussed prominent services offered to Palestinians with disability during Covid-19 crisis.