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Training Disability Activists from the Arab Community

bizchut [1]A joint venture between Bizchut, The Israel Human Rights Center for People with Disabilities, Masira (a JDC initiative to improve the status of people with disabilities in the Arab community) and Accessible Community (a project of the Israel Association of Community Centers, JDC, the government and local municipalities) , is training disability activists to operate information centers in their local communities. A workshop held at the beginning of May brought 30 participants from Sachnin, Daburia and Nazareth to Jerusalem for 2 days of intensive training. 2 additional training days were held by Sachnin and Daburia. Topics covered included independent living in the community, employment options for people with disabilities, visits to community based housing and employment facilities in Jerusalem and sessions on how to receive and process requests for assistance from the public. Wafa Ayub, Coordinator of Bizchut?s activity in the Arab community reports: ?The workshop was an excellent opportunity for sharing experience. We touched upon the basic questions that guide the work of individuals giving service to people with disabilities and we were able to provide participants with knowledge and skills that will serve them well in their activity on the ground.? Cases presented at the workshop included the story of ?A?, a deaf toddler whose mother turned to Bizchut when her local council refused to provide transportation to and from his specialized day-care center. While initial approaches to the council were unsuccessful, subsequent exposure of the story in the media facilitated by Bizchut’s spokesperson resulted in the required service being provided. After spending months at home, ?A? is finally receiving the daily rehabilitation he so needs. The new local information centers at Sachnin, Daburia and Nazareth will offer initial information on rights and services for people with all disabilities, and will be established in the next few weeks. Bizchut will continue to support the local activists, providing information and expert legal advice as required. All partners are eagerly looking forward to this much needed initiative which will enable the organization to reach ever increasing circles of individuals who will benefit from this service.