Empowerment of youth with disabilities involving their families and communities

ETI - Empowerment Through Integration
Country of Implementation
Asia & Pacific
Start Year
First published

ETI primarily focuses on young people with visual impairments, offering life-skills training in group and one-to-one settings, parent workshops, and other community activities to promote social inclusion. ETI also works with relief agencies to ensure that young refugees with disabilities can also access its programmes.

Life Skills trainer demonstrating for a group of volunteers and Ms Sara Minkara how to use the white cane.
A life skills-trainer shows the usage of the white cane.

Solution details


Sara Minkara Website
“ETI's Empowerment Programmes promote authentic inclusion one child, family and community at a time.” Sara Minkara, Founder, ETI

Problems Targeted

Young people with disabilities in Lebanon experience social and academic exclusion, and this is intensified by geographic isolation and poverty.

Solution, Innovation and Impact

ETI runs five programmes across Lebanon, the primary one being the Life Skills Intensive Programme – a two-week training on orientation, mobility, and independent living for young people who are blind or are otherwise visually impaired. A follow-up Life Skills Extension Programme offers one-to-one training in the young person’s home and community for up to ten months. Parent workshops ensure that the skills acquired in the trainings are maintained within family and community settings. ETI also runs a volunteer training programme and a community service project for people with and without disabilities. ETI is the only organization in Lebanon offering this kind of life-skills training to young people who are blind and visually impaired. Between 2016 and 2018 it has supported over 1,000 young people and trained over 300 volunteers. ETI recruits Lebanese participants through its partnership with local schools and the Ministry of Social Affairs,, and Syrian and Palestinian refugees with the assistance of international bodies, such as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The organization is also working with the Ministry of Education to incorporate its approach into the mainstream school system.

Funding, Outlook and Transferability

ETI does not charge for its activities in Lebanon, relying on private donors and grants. It receives funding from UNHCR for its work with refugees. In the past, ETI received funding from its sister organization in the USA to support operating costs, but it is now sustained by funding within Lebanon alone. As part of its replication plan, ETI is considering charging a service fee to external agencies. For example, in 2018 the organization facilitated staff training at the Ministry of Social Affairs, and this may become a future source of income. ETI wants to develop a regional hub in another part of the world to replicate its impact, and piloted a programme in Nicaragua from 2013 to 2015. ETI plans to work with partners so that replication can be locally driven, with ETI acting as a hub organization offering consultancy or capacity-building support.



Life Skills trainer demonstrating for a group of volunteers and Ms Sara Minkara how to use the white cane. A life skills-trainer shows the usage of the white cane.



Life Story


“Even simple things like how to lace my shoes make a big difference to me.”

My name is Sadek and I am a 23-year-old university student studying accounting. Since I started the ETI programme I have learned many things, and the programme has helped me to gain more independence and self-confidence. I am very motivated by the programme, especially by the music classes and the social literacy. I’ve learned how to interact more with others and how to communicate better. Even such simple things as how to lace my shoes has made a difference in my life. I am grateful for the ETI staff, who are providing all of these experiences, including the chance to meet new people and to make new friends. For me, they represent a family working together for the same goal – to promote the social integration of young people and children with disabilities.

Related information

Solutions with the same:

Country of Implementation


Region of Implementation

Asia & Pacific