The Bethlehem Governorate celebrated on Wednesday the inauguration of a media unit for the integration of people with disabilities at the Beit Jala vocational training center, which was founded by the Palestinian Ministry of Labor.
The project has become the first of its kind in Palestine, since it adapted the center to become accessible by PwDs, through constructing an elevator, special bathrooms, and providing tools, equipment and training of trainers to provide this service for all students.
The first phases of the project concluded a research in the Bethlehem district on the employment of people with disability in the labor market. The research showed that there was a lack of People with Disability companies and institutions, and a lack of accessibility in the buildings, especially in the field of media.
The international cooperation project was executed by the Beit Jala Vocational Center, the Bethlehem Governorate, and PNN, with the support and funding of the Belgian Association for Action and Development and the Wallonie- Bruxelles International (WBI)
The opening ceremony was held under the patronage of the Governor of Bethlehem, Maj. Gen. Kamel Hmaid, Director of Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation (BASR) Edmond Shehadeh, Board Member Mr. Mousa Darwish, Bethlehem District Commander Brigadier Nader Omar, Deputy Mayor of Bethlehem Hanna Hanania, Director of Bethlehem Labor Directorate Ruslan Abu Rehan, a number of officials and media representatives.
Director General of BASR, Edmond Shehadeh said that this development is everyone’s responsibility in Palestine as public, private and non-governmental organizations, stressing the importance of working to change the country’s culture about disability and emphasizing the importance of being an effective, proactive part of this society by integrating and opening the door for them in vocational training and careers.
Provincial Deputy of Hainaut, Serge Hustache expressed his happiness to achieve this dream, adding that the project showed that the friends in Palestine have became a distinct model for cooperation model despite the difficult situation.
Hustache also pointed out that one of the most important forms of the Belgian-Palestinian relations that began with the Arab Association years ago is to send 700 students to train and volunteer in BASR, and today this cooperation also aims to strengthen relations between the peoples of Hainaut and Bethlehem at many levels and in different fields.
To his part, governor of Bethlehem, Maj. Gen. Kamel Hmaid stressed the importance of such project given the number of PwDs in Palestine who needed support and integration, pointing out that many people have become so after being shot or injured by the Israeli occupation forces.
The Governor expressed hopes to expand this project and rehabilitate the nature of education and employment in Palestine, adding that the government currently seeks to develop services .
In a related context, Consul General of Belgium, Danielle Haven, confirmed that her country supports the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Haven also briefed on a number of projects funded by her country in the fields of health and tourism officially, appreciating the presence and support of Belgian institutions and bodies working in direct contact with Palestinian institutions, where the Belgian government supports and encourages such direct communication between the two peoples.