Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children, East Jerusalem
Opened in 1965 to serve families whose children were affected by polio, Princess Basma Center has expanded its mission to treat and empower children with a wide range of disabilities and offer support to their families by providing an array of therapies and rehabilitation services, a residential program for mothers and children, adult physical therapy, and a sheltered vocational workshop for adults with disabilities. The Center was directed for 30 years by Mrs. Betty Majaj, a visionary leader who built up the Center’s services and launched the first Inclusive School in Palestine in 1987.
The Center also runs an academic K-12 inclusive school. Of the more than 400 students enrolled, nearly 40% are children with disabilities. The school is a model for creating inclusive education programs that can be replicated in schools across the West Bank to provide children with disabilities equal educational opportunities.
With its accreditation from the Joint Commission International for Ambulatory Care, Princess Basma serves as a clinical placement site for graduate students in physical, speech, and occupational therapy as well as social work.
In 2011 Princess Basma Center launched the first and only classroom and therapeutic services available to Palestinian children with autism. As part of its mission, the Center works to advocate for children with disabilities and their families and raise awareness in the wider community about the rights of the disabled.