CADI Day 2019: Promoting the rights of people with disability in Gaza

Life in Gaza, blighted by more than 11 years of unlawful Israeli closure, presents assorted challenges to people’s everyday rights and wellbeing, including high unemployment, electricity shortages, and limited healthcare and other basic services.

These problems are amplified for people with disabilities, for whom unemployment is estimated to be approximately 90% and electricity shortages particularly affect those relying on electrical assistive devices. This is further compounded by continuing social stigma in the occupied Palestinian territory, which 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.

Last month, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and our partner Nusirat Rehabilitation and Social Training Association (NRSTA) organised the second annual ‘CADI’ (Challenge of Advocacy of Disability Issues) Day; a highly successful day of events and public education to promote the rights of people with disabilities in Gaza.  

A group of 63 young activists took part, including 13 people with disabilities. At the beginning of the day, a facilitated discussion was held among media activists about the rights, needs and challenges of people with disabilities. Participants learned about the disability movement within Palestine and were encouraged to rethink stereotyping attitudes which are prevalent in the community.

Five hours of activities followed, with the participants splitting into seven groups to produce short films, press releases and articles for media coverage and petitions, as well as running a social media campaign helping to raise awareness of the rights of people with disabilities. By the end of the day, the #CADIday hashtag had reached approximately four million impressions on Twitter, meaning the groups’ advocacy messages were heard far and wide.

“I’m very proud to be a part of these activities,” said Ansaf, a local social media activist. “I will use my pages on Facebook and Twitter to advocate on disability issues”.

Majeda, who has a visual impairment, told MAP: “I’m happy because a lot of people took part to advocate on disability issues. I hope this activity will be repeated, because it is an important opportunity for us to advocate our rights."

Haitham, MAP’s Programme Assistant in Gaza, said: “I’m very glad to participate in this activity for the second time. This year was different because a group from people with disabilities were able to participate in the challenges. I’m sure that all the participants have helped raise awareness of disability issues across social media.”

If you would like to support MAP’s activities in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon, please consider making a donation today!

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