Despite rising tensions and adverse conditions, the ceasefire in Daraa that was agreed in early 2017 has held firm for much of the year. The prevailing calm has given humanitarian organisations and civil society groups the opportunity to start rebuilding villages and rehabilitating infrastructure. Other organisations, meanwhile, have focused their efforts and resources on treating people who have been injured by shelling or over the course of the battles that have taken place in the province.
Al-Amal (Hope) Association is one such organisation. Its main goal is to raise the voices of those who are suffering from disabilities, either as a result of war or due to a medical condition. Although the number of people with disabilities has risen dramatically in Syria as a result of the war, attitudes that stigmatise such people continue to prevail in the mainstream Syrian society. Many of the people here have sought help from a variety of associations but found no sympathetic ear. By bringing together people with disabilities and pooling resources, the al-Amal Association hopes to improve the lives of such people.
Headquartered in the town of Mzaireeb (also known as Muzayrib) in southern Daraa, near the Jordanian border, the rehabilitation centre opened by al-Amal is the latest step in the organisation’s efforts to treat people with disabilities. The centre offers medical assistance, physiotherapy, specialists and other amenities. Although the centre primarily caters towards treating war disabilities, those suffering from motor, sensory and mental disabilities are also welcome. In addition to providing treatment, the centre also provides vocational courses and helps those able to work find employment. In doing so, they hope to dispel the prevalent stigma about people with disabilities.
The existence and function of such treatment centres will be vital towards treating a society that has been both physically and mentally scarred by the brutal war that is now in its seventh year. Similar centres that have been opened elsewhere in Daraa, Aleppo and Qamishli raise hopes that those in need of treatment and rehabilitation can find what they require.