The Disabled Afghan Refugees Rehabilitation Project (DARP) has adopted a holistic, community-based approach of rehabilitation for Afghan refugees with disabilities and their families. Various specialized services are provided to about 200 Afghan refugees with disabilities and their families yearly, including speech and occupational therapy, support-groups for project participants and/or caregivers, group and individual counselling, seminars, specialized classes (literacy for hearing impaired), referrals, home visits, home-based rehabilitation services, transportation, medical and assistive devices support and self-employment support.
People with disabilities are some of the most vulnerable people in any society but this vulnerability is increased for the many people with disabilities who are living in Iran as they are also refugees. They have become caught in the cycle of poverty in an already struggling economy and this has increased their vulnerability and need for protection and support.
In January 2017 the first rehabilitation centre based on the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) model for Afghan refugees was opened. At the core of this project is a desire to see policy change with regards to how Afghan refugees with disabilities are integrated into the local systems and society. By empowering the refugees through educating them about their disability, refugee and child rights, teaching them about disability and providing them with an introduction to rehabilitation with speech and occupational therapy as well as through advocacy and lobbying with various governmental and private bodies for their inclusion, this project acts as a crucial bridge to enhance their inclusion.
The Disabled Afghan Refugees Rehabilitation Project (DARP) is also piloting self-employment initiatives. Recently an Afghan refugee (a former student of another Operation Mercy project) has been trained and commissioned to manufacture fruit driers which will be used by Afghan households to dry fruit for marketing. Skills in leather work and knitting are also being taught in the project, allowing the participants to work from home and gain an income.