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“I learned how to support my son”

Inclusion
Palestine

Helem and her son Ahmad are among the beneficiaries of Humanity and Inclusion’s inclusive education project for children with disabilities and their parents in Gaza, in the Palestinian Territories.

Helem and her son Ahmad in the school's resource room

Helem and her son Ahmad in the school's resource room | © Oriane van den Broeck / HI

HI has set up an inclusive education project in Gaza, where it helps children with disabilities go to school and provides support to their parents.

Happy at school 

Ahmad, 7, is unable to attend a mainstream state school due to his disability. For the last three years, he has been enrolled at a special school partnered by HI. The school is equipped to help children with learning difficulties or disabilities in the classroom. 
It now has a resource room with new teaching aids, and teaching methods have been adapted to meet the needs of students, making learning more enjoyable.

"Ahmad cried when he first had to go to school, but he’s totally different now. I think he's happy there. When he comes home, he tells me how much encouragement he gets from the teachers,"

explains Helem, the boy's mother. 

The importance of helping each other

For HI, the psychological well-being of children and their parents is the cornerstone of academic success. The organisation makes sure everyone can access appropriate psychological support at school. Helem has attended 15 sessions with the school psychologist.

"I learned how to help my son. And it was especially good to hear that I wasn't responsible for his disability," says Helem.  HI has also set up a parent support group managed by its members: “I talked about the challenges I face and learned how to overcome them," explains Helem. 

Fostering solidarity between families

Helem is one of the parents trained to lead the sessions: "When I invited the men to take part, I only expected five or so to turn up - culturally, women are more likely to care for children - but fifteen came! At the last session, one even asked me if we could organise more sessions," she adds. 
The support group, awareness sessions and one-on-one psychological sessions have all helped children develop a healthier relationship with their parents. A balanced environment has a positive impact on learning. 

Understanding children 

Parents are now better able to understand their child's psychological and educational needs. "I used to find it hard to understand why my child behaves like he does and why he has problems. But after attending the sessions, I know more, and I respond in the right way."

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