AMMAN – For the first time in 14 years, Our Lady of Peace Center organized a week of training for occupational therapists and physiotherapists from all over the Middle East on August 15 – 19.  The purpose of this training is to improve the care of people with disabilities and to help promote their place in societies where this situation remains at the margins.

The 41 participants from Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, attentively listened to Jane Styer-Acevedo, an American neuro-development specialist, as she taught the basics of physiotherapy and occupational therapy disciplines that are still uncommon in the Middle East. The first goal is to enable better support for patients with disability who are often children, to be better cared for on a daily basis: “learn to walk, dress, brush their teeth or play ball … Trainers must be able to teach children cared for, basic actions,” says Jane Styer-Acevedo. To do this, participants will practice specific exercises that they can replicate with the patients following this session.

For Our Lady of Peace Center and the employees, this week of training is of great importance insofar as it contributes to this institution’s distinctive reputation, of providing free care to more than 2,000 people a year. It is the only Center that offers free service of this magnitude in Jordan. The Center’s director, Sahem Madanat, is aware that beyond the day-to-day care of these children, there is also the concern for better integration of people with disabilities in the Jordanian society and in the Middle East.  New projects are presently being reviewed to consider vocational training for these young people with disabilities, who are today cared for up to the age of 14.

In the context of raising awareness of the disability issues, Our Lady of Peace Center will organize a public walk with the children on September 22.  It is an initiative that had been very successful in the past, thanks to the work of Bishop Selim Sayegh, founder of the Center.

Remy Brun et Claire Guigou