Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has held a ceremony to celebrate the conclusion of two major programmes in the Gaza Strip, one for higher education and the other for disability and psychological support.
The event was attended by representatives of the main donors: the Al Fakhoora programme of Qatar's Education Above All Foundation, the Programme of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) for the Reconstruction of Gaza, and Islamic Development Bank.
Other participants represented partners and non-government organisations (NGOs), besides the media.
The two programmes covered six local universities, which have no less than 70,000 students, as well as 16 NGOs that serve up to 40,000 people with disability. Under these $10mn programmes, 25 projects have been implemented since 2011, QRCS has said in a statement.
Dr Akram Nassar, head of the QRCS mission in Gaza, said the programmes successfully offered significant and high-quality services to the beneficiaries.
According to him, the disability and psychological support project addressed three types of disability: physical, hearing and visual. There was another integrated vocational training project for disabled youths, followed by an initiative to create jobs and promote entrepreneurship.
He gave a presentation on the achievements, such as the early hearing detection for children (0-5 years), which is planned to become a permanent national programme.
For the first time in the history of Gaza and almost the whole region, QRCS launched a project to enhance higher education services for people with hearing disability and create a database for disability to upgrade co-ordination among relevant organisations, the statement noted.
"Our work included establishing two new buildings for Al-Quds Open University and Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS)’s University College of Ability Development in Khan Younes. We also rehabilitated infrastructure and procured specialist laboratories for several universities, in order for the students to have a good learning environment," said Dr Nassar.
For Al Fakhoora's, Shadi Saleh, the foundation's representative in Palestine, said: "We believe all people in Gaza deserve to have access to adequate education and health services. The programmes contributed to the empowerment of youth through investing in the reconstruction and upgrading of educational institutions. The programmes also provided hope to the people with disabilities and supported the establishment of vital health facilities.”
Among the many components of the two programmes are the following: rebuilding facilities of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Al-Azhar University in Gaza; establishing electronic and educational laboratories at Al-Quds Open University and Islamic University; establishing a medical rehabilitation department at Al-Amal Hospital; establishing a specialist diabetic foot centre at Al-Wafaa Hospital; contracting an ophthalmologist and procuring surgical supplies for Public Eye Hospital; and creating job and vocational training opportunities for people with disability.
All these activities were co-implemented by QRCS's representation office and PRCS.