CADI DAY: promoting and protecting disability rights in Gaza

"There are two separation walls that menace Palestinian society; one is that infamous grey structure that denies every Palestinian the basic human right to live in dignity, and the other is the lesser-known invisible wall that pushes Palestinians with disabilities even further away from this right.”

Yana Zayed, International Service volunteer

MAP is supporting people with disabilities in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) to promote and address their right to full inclusion and participation in society.

Last week, in association with the Nusirat Rehabilitation and Social Training Association (NRSTA) and El Wedad Society for Community Rehabilitation (WSCR), MAP organised an advocacy event in Gaza for CADI Day (Challenge of Advocacy of Disability Issues) to promote the rights of people with disabilities.

Challenging social isolation and marginalisation

In the oPt disability is still stigmatised, with degrading terminology and attitudes common. Combined with many practical obstacles, this mindset can make it difficult for people with disabilities to participate in society, including accessing education, using public transport, earning an income and attending social events.

Through events like CADI Day, MAP is supporting people with disabilities to change practices and challenge public perceptions of disability.

Advocacy campaign: CADI Day (Challenge of Advocacy of Disability Issues)

This year’s CADI Day events took place at the El Wedad Society for Community Rehabilitation centre in Gaza City on 4 April, as part of a project promoting an inclusive and accessible society for all.

At the beginning of the session MAP facilitated a discussion among media activists about the rights, needs and challenges of people with disabilities. Participants learnt about the disability movement within Palestine and were prompted to rethink prominent attitudes and stereotypes.

During the discussion, participants agreed on the need for a change in the language used in society to talk about disability. To support this, the participants were split into eleven groups and challenged to engage with media outlets to break down the prejudices and environmental barriers which prevent people with disabilities from fully participating in society.

Over five hours the groups produced eleven short films, eleven press releases and created eleven events on Facebook emphasising the rights and achievements of people with disabilities. They also created eleven electronic petitions and launched eleven campaigns on twitter. The hashtag the media activists used, #CADIDAY, reached 8 million people across the Middle East, helping to raise awareness of the rights of people with disabilities.

One participant, a media student, said, “I would like to thank everyone who organised CADI Day, it is the first time I have attended an event focused on the rights of people with disabilities. The day provided me with information about the rights of people with disabilities and discrimination they face and I will go away raising these issues in my work and studies.”

Haitham, MAP’s Programme Assistant in Gaza:

“I was very impressed with CADI Day because the participants were very active and they were all committed to making a change within their community to achieve a more inclusive society. I hope we can hold a similar event again with people with disabilities to continue raising awareness of their rights and breaking down community barriers.”

Amal, MAP’s Community Programme Officer in Gaza:    

“What inspired me most about the event is that, within five hours, the participants’ tweets, advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, reached more than eight million people. In addition, at the beginning of the event the majority of the participants were using the wrong language when talking about people with disabilities, but by the end of day most of them were applying the right language to talk about the rights of individuals with disabilities.”

 

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