Volunteers Launch Social Center for Disabled in Arsal

Lebanese clinic aims to support locals and Syrians who suffer from marginalization due to a range of disabilities

Sociologist Abdul Hafiz al-Hulani founded the social support clinic in Arsal, Lebanon, for marginalized locals and Syrians who live with disability.

The clinic, which is based inside a house north-east of the capital Beirut, attends to 355 disability cases and does not discriminate against Syrians or locals who have already suffered marginalization within their communities.

“The clinic is not a residence; it is more of a social support center. We have daily social activities. The cases we receive at the clinic have paralysis, brain dystrophy, amputation, Down syndrome, mental disability, and hearing and visual disabilities,” Hulani explained.

Hulani said, “the staff consists of myself, a secretary, medical supervisor, cleaner, a social worker, and house owner Umm Omar who donated her house to be a place for the clinic. The car we have is owned by my friend who let us use it for the service of the clinic.” Hulani says that expenses are met through his own personal donations and those from friends.

Social activities at the clinic include handicraft workshops in which clients are trained and qualified to make their own money. The clinic also offers nursing and language courses.

The staff have also been training a group of attendees to present a work of theater.

According to a 2014 report published by nongovernmental organization Handicap International, 30 percent of Syrian refugees have specific needs, while one in five refugees is affected by physical, sensory or intellectual impairment. The report also states that one in 20 refugees suffers from injury, with nearly 80 percent of these injuries resulting directly from the Syrian conflict.

This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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