Bless the children of Damascus
In celebration of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week 2021, the Philippine Embassy in Damascus held its first-ever outreach activity for the children with disabilities of Al-Raja Society in Damascus, which was attended by the embassy personnel and local hires in late July at Al-Raja Society Main Center, in Qanawat, Damascus.
“This is the first time an embassy has ever visited us,” said Siham Hachim, founder of Al-Raja. “The children are so happy with the much-needed donation from the embassy.”
Ghassan Al Salih, board member and chairman of Al-Raja Society, also welcomed the team.
In her welcome remarks, Hachim’s welcomed Chargé d’Affaires (CDA), a.i. Vida Soraya S. Verzosaand the embassy team and talked about the history of the organization, the number of children in the organization, their different cases, and the treatment plans they follow from an early age until they reach age 21. She also shared with the CDA the activities and programs of the organization, the number of centers they have, and how they teach the children different vocations in order to prepare them to become active individuals in their society.
As requested by Al-Raja Society, the embassy donated a trampoline set with net for the everyday activities of the children.
A token of appreciation was gifted to the CDA by one of the children with special needs and who works at the same time as the secretary of the organization. As per the organization, she is considered to be the first person with disability to hold a position in Syria.
The event was followed by different activities for the children, assisted by their Special Education (SPED) teachers. The children also prepared a special dance for the embassy and guests after the turnover ceremony.
The Al Souriya Channel (Syrian TV channel) interviewed the CDA about the reason for this occasion, why the Embassy chose the organization as one of its donees, and the embassy’s opinion on the achievements of the organization.
At the end of the program, the embassy prepared a light snack for the children and staff of the organization. A token of appreciation was gifted to the CDA by one of the children with special needs and who works at the same time as the secretary of the organization. As per the organization, she is considered to be the first person with disability to hold a position in Syria.
In line with the Gender Equality, Disability, and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) mainstreaming strategy of the Embassy, this outreach activity and donation are aligned with the commitment of the Philippine government to uphold the rights of children with disabilities. It is also part of the cultural diplomacy projects of the Embassy to strengthen bilateral relations. Both the Republic of the Philippines and the Syrian Arab Republic are states parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The donation benefitted a total of 20 children with disabilities, ages six to 10 years old. COVID-19 health protocols and security measures were observed during the outreach activity.
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