Heart to Heart from Jerusalem to Gaza in times of War

February 8, 2024- Posted in Disabilities, Education, Gaza, Healthcare, Jerusalem, Palestine

Faithful to their vision, the Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre continues to serve displaced children with disabilities and their caregivers in Gaza

Al-Zahraa, Occupational Therapist, extends JPBC services to a displaced child in Rafah.

Despite all challenges, including damage to the Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre’s new rehabilitation unit at Ahli Arab Hospital, the JPBC team remains unwavering in their commitment to serve children and families. They have found a way to actively support two displaced JPBC staff members currently sheltering in Gaza, who are both delivering essential emergency rehabilitation and psychosocial services to the vulnerable children seeking refuge among them.

Occupational Therapist Al-Zahraa is stationed at a shelter in Rafah, where 600 families reside in restricted quarters. Social Worker Musa operates from a shelter in Gaza City, where approximately 650 Palestinian Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have taken refuge since the war’s onset.

Under the guidance of JPBC’s Medical Director in Jerusalem, Dr. Waddah, the JPBC rehabilitation team uses a screening tool to assess children with disabilities residing in these two shelters. They have also established a regular means of communication between staff in Jerusalem and in Gaza to exchange information on patient records and coordinate optimal care. Their objective: assist their Gazan staff in prioritizing and delivering services most efficiently given the extraordinarily challenging circumstances and conditions.

Al-Zahraa has completed 34 face-to-face interviews, and is now providing ongoing emergency support and guidance for assessment and treatment of children with various disabilities and recent war-related injuries. She has underscored the critical need for medicine, wheelchairs, and prosthetic limbs.

“This support brings us relief. We are grateful and thankful for this institution and its specialists.” -Grandmother to Rahaf, a displaced child receiving JPBC services in Gaza

Musa is pictured here on February 3rd. He tells JPBC that he is “managing to draw a smile on the faces of children even in these days.”

Musa has initiated psychosocial support efforts at the Gaza City shelter, with a primary focus on caregivers and strategies to alleviate children’s suffering amid the war. He states, “I am dedicated to this work, focusing on the deep humanitarian need, regardless of religion, gender, and differences, because in this war people have lost their homes and livelihoods.”

Both Al-Zahraa and Musa express boundless gratitude for support received from their Jerusalem colleagues and acknowledge JPBC’s pivotal role in restoring some semblance of hope amidst extremely challenging circumstances.

Please keep Al-Zahraa and Musa, who are working under impossible conditions, and all of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre’s patients and families in your prayers. Even before the war, JPBC did not receive adequate reimbursement from the Ministry of Health for residential services they provided for children and families in the West Bank, and the ongoing conflict has only further compounded this issue. Your continued support is critical. Please consider coming alongside Jerusalem Princess Basma’s remarkable staff as they continue to serve families throughout the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Thank you for your ongoing support and your trust in our mission. Your donations are the lifeline that makes this critical work possible.

***As a nonsectarian, nonpolitical 501(c)(3) nonprofit, AFEDJ does not engage in explicitly political activities. AFEDJ offers a resource list on our website of organizations that offer the opportunity to advocate on behalf of vulnerable and displaced people in the Middle East. You may find it here: https://afedj.org/resources/advocacy-organizations/