The Rahma Center in Tripoli
In his heart and mind, Dirar, 15, is a child no matter how old he gets. "I love playing so much. I come to this room to offload my energy. I run, jump, play with my friends, and when I’m angry I kick the boxing bag," Dirar says excitedly, pointing at the red boxing bag in the corner of the "Soft Play" room, at The Rahma Center in Tripoli, North Lebanon.
Dirar and his twin brother Ahmed suffer from developmental delay. They both joined Rahma center few years ago; a center that provides social services for the disabled.
When asked if he is older than his twin brother Dirar replies without hesitation, "At school, my brother is older, but at home I am older than him."
Then he adds, "I have a sister at home, and here in the center I also have one. “This is my sister," he says, referring to a female employee standing next to him. "I want to make a beaded bracelet for her, nicer than the one I did for myself."
"Not long ago, I could not thread the beads.". “It was difficult for me to pick up the small beads and put them on the thread so my parents took me to a specialist and he gave me these eyeglasses. Now I can see better and continue doing bracelets and other beautiful things!"
Funded by the US government, UNICEF and its partner The Rahma Center, works to integrate children with disabilities into mainstream activities, that allow Dirar and other children to work by themselves and to gain self-confidence. The center strengthens their capacity in terms of life skills, education and physical rehabilitation. The aim is to reintegrate the children into appropriate schools; to ensure they are well functioning, active and happy.
Children at Rahma Center are like beads of different sizes and colors. Each bead has its own shape and aesthetics, but all need attention and patience to become a beautiful bracelet that lends its beauty to the wrist of its wearer, in this case, to society.