Kassem, 11, shares a tender moment with his Aunt Fatima. Kassem has severe disabilities that include limited use of his legs, no bladder control, difficulty hearing, and an inability to speak.
The exclusion of children with physical, mental and intellectual disabilities from public schools in Jordan and Lebanon, including Syrian refugees, is a serious issue, despite policies to promote inclusion. A recent assessment of 120 refugees in Lebanon—half of whom had disabilities, the others being caregivers—did not find a single child enrolled in school or other educational activities. Only a small number of those disabled children attended school in Syria. Recent reports from Jordan’s Za’atari camp suggest that children with disabilities generally do not go to school.