In light of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), UNOPS in Palestine and the Federal Republic of Germany through its Development Bank (KfW) continue to promote the rights of persons with disabilities and to take action for the inclusion of persons with disabilities
According to Palestine’s Ministry of Social Development (MoSD), approximately 7% of the Gazan population is estimated to have some form of impairment and physical disability. However, when thinking about physical disability, elderly people and other persons suffering from chronic illness and visual impairments, they are all limited in their access to buildings without an inclusive design, thus creating unnecessary barriers.
The UNOPS House Reconstruction in Gaza project has supported beneficiaries (50% are females) who had lost their homes in the conflict of 2014 to reconstruct their households by disability-inclusive designs to empower the beneficiaries to live an independent and dignified life.
The infrastructure housing designs incorporate needed spaces, corridors, door sizes, and other supporting furnishings that include the installation of handrails, ramps, accessible fixtures and bathroom facilities that respond directly to the accessibility needs of the differently abled persons.
“As UNOPS we wanted to create a place where there is space for differences,” said Mr. Tokumitsu KOBAYASHI, Director of UNOPS in Palestine. ”Well-planned, effective, and inclusive infrastructure designs or services are fundamental to unlocking the potential of people with disabilities. Effective infrastructure can reduce or remove the barriers which lead to forming the real meaning of disability”.
This project, which is worth around EUR 24.8 million, financed by the Federal Republic of Germany through its Development Bank (KfW), has so far supported the reconstruction of more than 220 households.
In 2020, UNOPS and the Federal Republic of Germany through its Development Bank (KfW), extended their support to repair and upgrade substandard housing in order to protect vulnerable residents of Gaza living in poor housing conditions.
The rehabilitation of the substandard houses includes the provision of access to basic utilities water and electricity, better security, stabilizing walls and roofs, and improving the health and safety of the families living in the house. As a result, the refurbished buildings provide the beneficiaries with decent and secure housing that will allow them to live better standards of living and with dignity.
“It is a matter of solidarity to assist people in need. The program of UNOPS and the German KfW to provide war-damaged houses with infrastructure for elderly and disabled people falls into this category. I am happy that we can help, “said Christian Clages, the Head of the Representative Office of the Federal Republic of Germany in Ramallah.
The support to disabled beneficiaries was set as one of the priorities for the beneficiary selection for the substandard rehabilitation phase.
It is worth mentioning that throughout Phases I and II of this project, UNOPS continue to provide Gazans with safe, secure, quality and sustainable homes and ensure that their legal rights are protected on the long run following the destruction and displacement caused by the 2014 conflict in Gaza.