Youssef attends an occupational therapy session with Maya | © Oriane van den Broeck / HI
Since June 2017, psychosocial support and rehabilitation go hand in hand for children with disabilities in Lebanon thanks to Humanity and Inclusion’s partnership with the Mousawat rehabilitation centre in the Beqaa Valley.
Psychosocial assistants work in conjunction with rehabilitation specialists at the Mousawat centre, in the Beqaa Valley. Every week, the team gets together to discuss their patients and share advice. Children at the centre have access to comprehensive rehabilitation treatment including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and psychosocial support.
Every year around 300 children are treated free of charge thanks to HI. The organisation focuses mainly on early intervention and follow-up care with the parents of children with disabilities. Many families are beginning to return to Syria, and it is important, for example, that parents learn the rehabilitation exercises needed for their child’s treatment.
Most of the patients at the centre were told about it by friends, family members or neighbours who recommended the services in Mousawat.
At least one parent attends each rehabilitation session. The centre also offers parents psychological assistance and a support group has been set up where parents can help each other. Having a disabled child takes its toll on parents psychologically, especially in an environment where disability is stigmatised.
At the start of the project, parents were reluctant to consult a psychologist, for fear of being stigmatised by their community. Today, it has become common for them to request these services.