Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, which is now heading into its sixth year, the WRC has worked with partners on the ground to promote the inclusion of refugees with disabilities—an estimated 22% of the population—in assistance programs and in the decision-making process.
In a protracted and complex crisis, humanitarian actors continue to look for ways to strengthen protection and assistance. Vulnerability considerations have typically determined the design and implementation of humanitarian programs. However, program models are emerging in the Syria response that focus on a resilience-based approach—emphasizing skills, capacities, strengths, and assets.
Recognizing the increased attention to resilience in the Syria response, the WRC undertook a project to examine how vulnerability and resilience-based approaches are supporting the protection and empowerment of Syrian refugee women, children, and youth with disabilities.
The WRC has identified a set of actions that must be taken to ensure that the resilience of diverse populations amongst refugees with disabilities are recognized and fostered in programming. While the findings and recommendations are drawn from the Syria crisis, we believe they have relevance across other humanitarian settings.
Shifting the understanding of persons with disabilities from uniformly vulnerable to individuals with varied skills, capacities, and assets, is critical to ensuring that they are included in the resilience-focused programming that is gaining momentum in humanitarian response.