• Al-Manarah celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with a unique conference entitled ?The Relations Between Persons with Disabilities and Their Stakeholders?.

    The idea for the conference came after many complaints were made to AlManarah by people with disabilities who have experienced discrimination and negative attitudes from stakeholders such as the National Insurance Institute and the Welfare & Social Affairs Ministry who are supposed to be supporting them and meeting their needs. The conference, held in AlManarah?s Multi-Services Centre, brought stakeholders to the ?home ground? of the Blind and persons with disabilities, allowing those attending the conference to feel ?at home? during the sessions.

    One of the sessions of the conference included a panel of persons with disabilities, facilitated by Adv. Abbass, and hosted by Mr. Nidal Essawi and Ms. Fatima Zoabi, both discussing the relationship between the stakeholders and persons with disabilities. They talked about the gap in expectations from both sides and they blamed both sides: on the one hand, the stakeholders should learn more about the needs and the importance of human dignity; and on the other, persons with disabilities should understand the limitations and the work pressures that these stakeholders are under while trying to meet their needs.

    A number of sessions were presented by staff members of various institutions and highlighted the difficulties of both clients and stakeholders. At the conclusion of the conference a list of conclusion and recommendations were presented. Participants shared their impressions and opinions. Mr. Ronnie Shechter, Chairman of the Israeli Human Rights Organization of People with Disabilities, thanked AlManarah for organizing this special conference and he sent a clear message to persons with disabilities to cooperate together as Arabs and Jews working together in Israel in order to achieve their rights. He criticized stakeholders, claiming that there is a need to invest greater efforts and be more committed towards facilitating the needs of persons with disabilities. Abbass recommended that a steering committee be established that will include stakeholders and persons with disabilities in order to develop the constructive ideas presented within the conference into an action plan to be implemented.

    The conference ended on an optimistic note: all the participants thanked Al-Manarah for addressing some very important issues. Adv. Abbass Abbass said that the success of the conference and Al-Manarah?s great achievements of 2009, illustrates AlManarah as a leading organization not only in the Arab society, but in Israel as a whole.

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