Success stories from Sternberg

Targeted encouragement: A staff member at Sternberg accompanies a child as it learns through play. Photo zVg of Sternberg

Children with disabilities have few opportunities in Palestine. "If everyday life is very arduous, as it is here, then you don't have a view for those who need more or perhaps just different attention," says Ranya Karam, the director of the "Sternberg" rehabilitation center near Ramallah. At Sternberg, however, the services are tailored to young people with disabilities. There is an integrative kindergarten, a special school and vocational training for children and young people with physical and mental disabilities.

Practical work in the communities

The work of Sternberg has an impact beyond the boundaries of the institution. In the first half of 2019, several municipalities agreed by contract to hire a specialist for the accompaniment of people with disabilities and to jointly pay their wages. This came about on the initiative of the "Sternberg", to which the communities have handed over control of the offer. This is an important success, as those responsible for the "Sternberg" are fighting on a social level to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are perceived and met.

In January, three persons with intellectual disabilities were also able to enter regular schools. This is significant in a school system where integration is not part of everyday life. Sternberg made the school admissions possible in consultation with the Ministry of Education. In addition, four people have found jobs in the surrounding communities.

Continuing education for the Uno

More and more people are being trained at Sternberg in terms of the integration of people with physical and mental disabilities in all areas of society. The institution's staff is continuously training, but here, too, Sternberg has an impact that goes far beyond the boundaries of the site. This year, the UN sent 25 staff members to the Sternberg for further training. They work for UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

Long jump medals

These are just some of the successes reported by the Sternberg staff in their review of the first half of the year. Smaller, but no less important events are also mentioned. For example, all the children and young people from the Sternberg rehearsed a circus performance together and received much applause for their acrobatic skills. And last but not least: At the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi in March, Nihad Shehada won silver and Halimah Ladaddwa bronze in the long jump. Both are students at Sternberg.

Text: Miriam Glass

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