RIMA CANAWATI the Recipient of The International Leadership Award for the outstanding service to ICEVI and children and young people with a visual impairment






Congratulations to Mr. Edmund Shehadeh the General Director of

Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation (BASR) on his Peace Award 

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The President of Reggio Emilia in Italy awarded Mr. Edmund Shehadeh on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 during the ceremony for the Peace Prize a great highlight was made on the efforts BASR makes to assist the disabled in Palestine alongside CBM Italy.

With This award, Reggio Emilia has recognized that the work of Mr. Shehadeh and BASR Specialized Hospital brings hope to many children and adults who need care and treatment. - Said Luciano Miotto, director of CBM Italy - Today, BASR is a beacon not only for families and children with disabilities who, without the hospital, would be left alone to themselves, but also for other medical centers that has the possibility to improve their work and thus treat more patients.

The Peace Prize is an initiative established in 1997 by the local government of Reggio Emilia to promote the culture of peace and solidarity in Reggio Emilia . "It has become an occasion to acknowledge the efforts of individuals, associations, organizations that are committed to national and international level for projects" said the president.








Rima Canawati has dedicated her professional life to the needs of disabled people in her community and throughout Palestine. She lost her own sight completely in her late teenage years, but has overcome this disability to rise to the top of her profession where she is now Director of Programme Development at the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation.

Over the years, Rima’s work has contributed greatly towards changing negative societal attitudes towards disability, and people with disabilities. She educates families in order to increase their understanding of disability, and support them to better cope with disabled family members. This has encouraged many more families to recognize the signs of disability at an early age and to seek support and advice. Rima has pursued ongoing dialogue with the Palestinian Authorities, seeking support for the basic social integration and education of children and young adults with disabilities.

At a national level, Rima has been lobbying universities to establish degree-level courses in special education so that there can be a supply of trained professionals to meet the needs of people with disabilities. She has also successfully lobbied the Ministry of Education to set a national policy for special needs provision and support, which has resulted in many disabled children being able to attend regular schools following thorough preparation at one of the day care centers.

Rima works extensively with local and international organizations in the field of disability: she is deputy Chair of the Middle East Regional Committee of the International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairments; is a member of UNICEF working groups; and is on the steering committee for the Disability Monitor Initiative in the Middle East. Rima was nominated by Action Around Bethlehem Children with Disability "ABCD - UK"; and ABCD are partners with  BASR for over thirty years.






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The Regional Committee for Community-Based Rehabilitation and the CBR Program – Southern Region of Palestine celebrated its winning the good practice award in delivering social services for persons with disabilities in the Middle East. The good practice programme was launched by the Disability Monitor Initiative (DMI-ME) led by Handicap International and CBM in cooperation with various organizations for people with disabilities and service providers operating in the Middle East.

The competition aimed to identify and share good practices which will help service providers to improve their performance and ultimately provide enhanced services for persons with disabilities. The DMI-ME conducted the Good Practice Awards programme to recognize good practices in service delivery throughout the Middle East region.

Participants in the good practice programme included service providers from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, and Yemen that work in the areas of health care, education, livelihood opportunities, and social protection for persons with disabilities.

A ceremony for the award distribution was hosted by the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation with the attendance of a number of governmental and non-governmental institutions and partner organisations that operate in Hebron and Bethlehem. The Minister of Local Government, engineer Ziad Bandak, offered the award to the CBR programme manager, engineer Fuad Sultan Tamimi.

The award includes a certificate of achievement, € 1,500, and a free flight ticket and accommodation for one person from the CBR programme to attend a major regional disability conference for the Middle East.

On this occasion, several speeches were delivered by the Minister of Local Government, the vice chairman of the Bethlehem Arab Society board, and the CBR programme manager.

Eng. Tamimi stated in his speech that the DMI “had allowed us as Palestinian organizations and programmes that work in the rehabilitation and disability sector to recognise that Palestinian rehabilitation services have reached a level of very high quality compared with the other regional services in spite of all the barriers and constraints imposed by the Israeli occupation as well as the limitation of resources.” Finally, Eng. Tamimi thanked all parties who participated in launching and implementing this initiative, in particular, the member organisations of the regional committee (Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation; Palestine Red Crescent Society – Hebron Branch; and the Health Work Committees) for their unlimited support for the programme. Special thanks went to the main donor of the CBR programme, DIAKONIA/NAD, which has supported the CBR programme both financially and technically since its inception in 1994. In addition, Eng. Tamimi thanked the CBR technical and administrative team members who have dedicated themselves to ensuring the professional implementation of the programme and who have supported it over the last fifteen years to succeed and take a prominent place among the other community programmes.