eti programs overview
ETI began as a summer camp in 2009. As a student at Wellesley College, Sara Minkara created Camp Rafiqi to provide an integrated summer recreational experience for some of the most isolated and stigmatized youth in Lebanon. The first Camp Rafiqi was held in Tripoli, Lebanon, and was funded by the Clinton Foundation, leading to the establishment of ETI as an internationally recognized NGO. Since then, ETI received its 501(c)3 certification in 2011, and has continued to develop its unique initiatives to challenge persistent stereotypes about disabilities. ETI is committed to changing the social narrative from one of discrimination to one of empowerment, eliminating stigma and equipping young people with disabilities with the confidence and skills to lead the charge in their lives and communities. With a focus on inclusion for all, the ETI Empowerment and Integrations Programs serve as catalysts for the establishment of a new global vision.
The ETI Empowerment Programs:
The ETI Empowerment Programs operate in regions where youth with disabilities are severely marginalized due to social and cultural stigma. ETI’s flagship Empowerment Program, currently being implemented throughout the nation state of Lebanon, provides local communities with the skills and value-changes necessary to create a narrative of empowerment surrounding disability.
Our regional Empowerment Programs engage all aspects of the conversation surrounding disability through the following offerings:
- Intensive Life Skills Training for Blind and Visually Impaired Youth
- Extension Life Skills Training for Blind and Visually Impaired Youth
- Parent Trainings and Workshops
- Volunteer and Community Training
- Camp Rafiqi – ETI’s Recreational and Educational Integrated Summer Program for Youth
- Social Project Applications
- Community Celebration Capstone
The ETI Integrations Programs:
The ETI Integrations Programs are designed to raise awareness and encourage integration and inclusion of marginalized individuals including persons with disabilities. These customized programs are appropriate for clients across sectors, from the nonprofit space to corporate and academic institutions. Our In the Dark Series, a collection of facilitated, blindfolded experiences, encourage participants to reflect on the preconceived notions and -isms (e.g. racism, sexism, ableism) that affect all our daily lives and interactions, often unconsciously. These programs create change by promoting recognition and elimination of bias to ultimately reduce the prevalence of social stigma in our collective narrative, while providing ETI with a sustainable source of revenue generation.
An Expanding Vision
Looking to the future, ETI plans to expand the breadth and reach of its programs to increase their impact. In the coming years, ETI plans to continue running it’s six programs abroad while memorializing and standardizing its processes and curricula. We will then establish these programs as templates to expand our impact to other parts of the world, curating locations globally to serve as regional hubs according to need and opportunity, replicating the ETI model originally established on the ground in Lebanon.
Over the next year, ETI will be expanding its client base and further developing the curriculum of the In the Dark Experiences to create a cyclical offerings schedule. These expanded curricula will enhance the Integration Programs Experience, allow lessons to be carried longitudinally and foster growth in organizations as well as individual participants.