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Title: A documentation of the experience of self-organization among physically disabled Palestinians
Authors: Salem, Mouna Odeh
Keywords: Arab Society for the Physically Handicapped (Jerusalem);Self-employed people with disabilities - Palestine
Issue Date: 1992
Abstract: Historically, the area of disability has been restricted to a charitable and social welfare approach which is built on the belief that disabled people are inherently dependent on others - namely the non-disabled, who should take charge of building and running organisations for disabled people. This classic situation has for long been the norm in all societies be they industrial or developing and started changing only two decades ago when it was challenged by the emerging voice of disabled people. The latter saw that one of the most important ways that disability and its social implications could be seriously tackled is through self-organisation, in such a manner that the lived experience of disabled people would reflect on identifying and later addressing the obstacles that retard their integration in society. The integration of disabled people is contingent upon several factors one of which is economic self-dependency. Studies in developing countries have shown that disabled people if and when employed, receive lower salaries than their counter-parts the non-disabled, and therefore remain economically vulnerable. This in turn affects their social status and curtails their participation and involvement in society thus leading to their marginalization. An important facet of marginalization is the process of disempowering disabled people through their exclusion from policy and decision-making in the area of disability (be it at the institutional level or at the individual one), and this is specifically where self-organisation tries to redress the balance.
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