Out Story

BASR was founded in 1960 as, one of Leonard Cheshire charity homes in the center of Bethlehem, catering to children with Poliomyelitis. 

In 1975, the home was handed over to the local people to run, which gave birth to the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation.  Working with very modest resources, it nevertheless quickly acquired an excellent reputation in Palestine as a leading provider of rehabilitation services to persons with physical disabilities.


In 1979, it became obvious that the home in Bethlehem was too small to accommodate the growing number of persons who need the services that BASR offered. BASR, therefore, though with limited resources, invested in constructing a purpose-built facility elsewhere in the Bethlehem area on a land donated by the Leonard Cheshire Foundation.

The first part of the new building was inaugurated in 1989, while the second part was inaugurated in 1998, housing the rehabilitation and surgical wards, the different rehabilitation departments, as well as outpatient’s medical clinics and other support facilities. 


Since 2000, BASR has expanded the range of rehabilitation, medical and surgical services it provides.  This came in response to the restrictions of movement placed on Bethlehem and other Palestinian residents due to the construction of the Apartheid Wall, which hindered local people’s access to specialized hospitals in nearby Jerusalem.  BASR now provides a range of specialized services such as ophthalmic surgery, orthopedic surgery, neuro-surgery and ENT surgery. This is in addition to the multi-disciplinary rehabilitation services it provides, which includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, audiology and speech and language therapy, vision rehabilitation, mental health and psychosocial support, neuro-psychological interventions, as well as the provision of assistive devices for different types of disability.

BASR is recognized as the national center for cochlear implant surgery and post cochlear rehabilitation, as well for vision assessment and rehabilitation in Palestine.


Whilst expanding its facilities, BASR also developed its work in the community among people with disability and their families.  In 1986, BASR set up the first of its Community Day-Care Centers, looking to develop locally based support for children and young people with disabilities.  After the year 2000, BASR established more than 10 purpose-built facilities for children with and without disabilities in the Bethlehem and Hebron Governorates; these centers are mostly run by the communities they are situated in, but BASR continues to provide them with specialist support and advice.


In collaboration with the local communities back in 1994, BASR also played a key role in setting up the Community-Based Rehabilitation program (CBR) for the south of Palestine. Through the usage of an internationally recognized model, the CBR team works directly with people with disabilities,  their families and communities to improve the prospects and livelihood of people with disabilities in their own settings. In 2013, BASR took on sole oversight for this program.


Also in recent years, BASR has further invested in its advocacy and empowerment programs for people with disabilities, ensuring disability mainstreaming across the community as a whole.  A concrete example on this has been the Socio-economic Empowerment Program, which has supported many people with disabilities in their journey in fighting poverty where they have been receiving training and loans to start up their own businesses as well as to access employment opportunities.


It has been a fruitful journey for BASR since 1960, and we are hopeful for a brighter and a better future.

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