An Interview with UPP and AHS Participants
Field Ready has been working with the NGO Un Ponte Per (UPP) and the Al Hussein Society (AHS) to create livelihood training for people with disabilities. The goal of the program is to create dignified and sustainable entrepreneurial and employment opportunities for the most vulnerable and marginalized people from both the local host and the Syrian refugee communities, addressing in particular people with motor and psycho-social disabilities. One of the ways we are doing this is by teaching the participants to make mobility aids, such as handrail bars, desks, ramps and seat cushions. Initial training entailed instruction on safety and equipment, followed by training in product development and manufacturing.
One of our goals as an organization is to support people with disabilities and create economic opportunities and equip them with new skill-sets, in line with the Global Disability Summit (which we recently became a signatory of). Innovation is also about diversity and inclusion and our aim as an organization is to be inclusive of the most vulnerable and have programs that are accessible to all.
In a country such as Jordan, it is not always accessible to people with disabilities, and many people with disabilities are excluded from humanitarian initiatives-this serves as a prime location to implement this program.
Most of the participants are refugees from Syria, who became disabled due to war. This program will give them agency to learn new skills and regain their confidence, as well as equipping them with items they need to thrive. We interviewed a set of participants to learn more about some of the challenges they face and to learn about their expectations of the program.
We spoke with Yahya, a 33-year-old from Syria with a lower-limb disability. His hope in joining the program was to develop new skills in order to have more employment possibilities, something that is often lacking for refugees, particularly those with disabilities. When asked one of the challenges Yahya faces, he said, “there are a lot of ideas in my mind, and I am worried there is not enough time to do everything.”
Lara is a 30-year-old Jordanian and works as an Occupational Therapist for AHS. She was keen to participate in the program, so she can make modifications needed to mobility aids on her own. In a short period of time, she expressed the number of new skills she has learned. The program is giving Lara the ability to serve her clients in a new way and provide them with the modifications they need at little to no cost.
Abdelelah, a 53-year-old from Syria expressed some of the challenges he faced prior to the start of the program, and the desire to learn new skills. One of the skills he was eager to learn was sewing. Our technical specialist in Jordan’s wife has been instructing participant’s in how to sew seat cushions for wheelchairs. This is a new skill for many of the participants, but all expressed their interest in obtaining this new skill and the ability to make cushions for their wheelchairs.
When Yahya was asked about working as a team, he said, “there is a lot of support among working with other People with Disabilities, because of mutual needs and understanding.” Many of the interviewed participants expressed similar sentiments, and the desire to collaboratively learn new skills and gain experience. Yaha said, “I hope to have enough skills and experience to start my own business and help other people with disabilities.”