Photography by Mohammed Baba
The El Amal Society was established in 1993 as an initiative of the local community members who detected the needs of people with disabilities. El Amal, then, over its lifetime accumulated business practices, technical experience, and maintained the genuine passion and belief in its role in the community. The society grew from just its founders to a membership witha general assembly of around 100 interested individuals who volunteered to serve the common objectives. Since it was established, the general assembly affirmed democratic practices through regular elections of the executive board. The El Amal organisation, besides being a leading organisation in Rafah and one of the first CSOs to care about the issue of disabilities, learns the best of its wisdom from people who have disabilities. They form the generations of power and energy which keep the organisation growing, not only with the vertical expansion of programmes but also in depth, to consider programme quality and results-driven programming. Since its establishment, El Amal has seen 16 generations of school children graduate through its Special Education Programme and has provided preventive and rehabilitative services to more than 9000 children and deaf adults annually.
The El Amal Society has been able to provide vocational training to people with disabilities for many years and dozens of persons have been qualified in manual crafts. Additionally, El Amal has a permanent workshop where manual crafts, embroideries and textile products are produced.
The El Amal Society, with the cooperation of DVV International, has been working on developing an adult learning programme since 2012 to offer training services that would satisfy the needs of the local job market and to encourage founding small projects and initiatives to help reduce poverty and unemployment despite the political and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.
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