Al-Tufula center has always been committed to working with the most marginalized in our community. Therefore when the Joint Foundation searched for partnership in the Arab community in Israel to work on empowering persons with disabilities, we joined their efforts.
A research conducted by the Joint organization, to study the status and services available to disabled Palestinians citizens of Israel, found that very little services were available to the disabled and the most marginalized in the group were Palestinian women.
The research found that the women are socially isolated, embarrassed of their condition/or situation and with little family support. They experience a great deal of discrimination and this all leads to low self esteem. This low self esteem is worsened by the fact that they lack a great deal of basic skills such as reading, writing and so forth and as a result become more dependent for assistance.
In addition to all this, the research found that the group lacks a support address. There are very few, if any, organizations who work with disabled Palestinian women and since Al-Tufula is committeed to work with the most marginalized, we decided to cooperate with Joint and work with women with disabilities.
The work began in 2007 and has evoloved over the years by building on accomplishments achieved. As a result of training, a group of women with disabilities have been empowered to make positive life changes for themselves and outreach to others in the community. The women have become advocates for their rights and the rights of others. They are playing a crucial role in changing social attitudes towards persons with disabilities in the community to positive ones. The women today play a vital role in outreaching to persons with disabilities in different villages, towns and cities in the northern part of Israel to raise the awareness on rights, services and assistive devices to make positive life changes for others. In addition, the women deliver lectures on the topic of rights and services to various organizations and institutes.
The impact of the work of these women has been an increase in quality of life for persons with disabilities. This includes accessibility of services, rights and assistive devices to allow them to become more independent in accomplishing daily tasks, pursuing employment and becoming visible in the public sphere.
As a result of the impact on the lives of persons with disability, we are continuing the work on this project to outreach to a larger target group to support them make positive life changes.