Medical Aid for Palestine has attempted to develop projects that are sensitive to both the current and potential future needs of Palestinians in the Middle East and elsewhere. In keeping with this philosophy, our activities are changing with the evolving needs of Palestinians. Our initial activities focused on emergency humanitarian and relief projects. During the 1990’s MAP recognized and responded to Palestinian aspirations for development projects that would enhance the infrastructure of Palestinian health care, thus maximizing the effectiveness, coordination and efficiency of the health system and bringing tangible sustainable benefits for future generations of Palestinians.
Our program directly addresses the health needs of Palestinians while boosting the overall development of local Palestinian businesses and the individuals they employ, through its emphasis on a local procurement policy and projects that promote employment opportunities. MAP projects also promote cooperation between non-governmental groups, furthering overall Palestinian development objectives and contributing to the establishment of the structures necessary in an independent state.
Playgrounds for the Palestinian Children
As playgrounds are rare in Palestine, we have initiated a program of playground building for Gaza, West Bank and south Lebanon in villages and refugee camps, close to schools or inside nurseries. Throughout the years, we managed with the collaboration of Playground Builders in Vancouver to establish more than 20 playgrounds where children can play safely.
Pre-School Education for Gaza Children
This project aimed to improve scholar performance of kids aged between 4 to 6 in northern Gaza by modernizing and readapting 10 kindergartens and establishing healthy behaviors among children, parents and teachers. Specifically, this project aimed to:
- provide a safe, stimulating and healthy space where girls and boys can play and learn.
- To improve parents trust in the infrastructures and staff of the ten targeted kindergartens
- Children, parents and teachers adopts healthy behaviors which will reduce contamination and infection risks in the modernized and readapted kindergartens
More than 750 girls and 750 boys were benefited directly from this project in northern Gaza, at a cost of $95,000.
Building of a Cultural Village in the Gaza Strip
This project aimed to revitalize and teach values and cultural practices of the Palestinian heritage to vulnerable population close to Beit Lahya (Izbat Hanoun, Jaabalia, Bedouin Village and Izbat Beit Hanoun Tours) by building a cultural village. It includes a Women Centre, a library, a craft room, a ball and singingroom, an administrative center, a cafeteria, a playground and a park. This project was financed by UNDP and UNICEF. Medical Aid for Palestine helps this project by installing a playground and park at a cost of $20 000.
The Silwan Athletic Club
The Silwan Athletic Club is a community club serving the needs of the neighborhood of Silwan, East Jerusalem. This club was established in 1965 as an athletic one, but has rapidly transformed to meet the needs of an endangered community. We aim to actively contribute to the development of our community in Silwan and in Jerusalem. We do this through putting emphasis on supporting our youth and women, and helping them to achieve their full potential. We also aim to address the needs and desires of the community as a whole, especially in the areas of sports and the preservation and development of cultural knowledge and identity. Specific projects that we organize are soccer leagues for various age groups, boy scouts and girl scouts clubs, after-school educational courses, cultural events and festivals, summer camps for children, and much more.
Hope for Palestinian Women
MAP works with Advancing Palestinian Women in the Middle East to offer scholarship to Palestinian women older than 25 years who don't have the opportunity to follow their studies due to their economical situation. Women who apply to scholarships must show that their thesis aims to change women's position in this society. These women are then introduced to a women network which will motivate them to get involve as citizens in their communities and society.
Assistance for Ambulance Services
Because of the ongoing emergency situation in the area non-governmental ambulance services and secondary health institutions provide disparate services to the Palestinian population. Formulated in response to urgent requests from ambulance and health centers in Nablus, Tulkarm, and Jenin, this project has as its primary goal establishing a minimum level of preparedness required to respond effectively to emergencies, by sustaining and enhancing the emergency medical system (E.M.S.) transportation system. By contributing assistance through support funds for vehicle and infrastructure maintenance, promoting self-sufficiency and advocating improved regional coordination, MAP will be responding to the present needs and will help to establish a structure able to meet long-term requirements. MAP provided over 300 vehicles since 1989 until now.
Capacity Building for Hospitals
MAP is determined to provide continuous support to non-governmental Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which are facing increasing demands on their facilities. In addition to the support programs already slated for 1993, MAP has developed a project to help develop the capacities for emergency care and the treatment of children at St. Luke’s Hospital and Ahli Arab Hospital.
St. Luke’s Hospital is one of only two fully-functioning Palestinian hospitals servicing Nablus and the north West Bank (pop. 550,000), an area which includes Jenin, Tulkarm and Qalgilya. Yet its capacity to provide emergency care is limited by the lack of a permanent intensive care unit (ICU). MAP is addressing this need by developing a project for the creation of a 4-6 bed ICU.
Al Ahli Arab Hospital serves as the cornerstone for Palestinian hospital care in the Gaza Strip. A neonatal unit is desperately needed to help mitigate against the rise in the infant mortality rate. To meet this critical need, MAP is formulating a project with Ahli that will bolster the ability of the hospital to provide the required care for newborns.
Gender and Development Project
MAP's Edmonton office, in conjunction with Children of Islamic Nations (COIN), is developing a project committed to training initiatives that integrate gender and development issues into health services, The project seeks to promote the participation of women in policy and planning aspects of health services. The program will enhance women’s professional skill level and provide the necessary vocational training and educational ugrading to ensure future employment at administrative and management levels in health institutions.
Gulf Returnees Employment Subsidy Programme
Palestinians in the Occupied Territories continue to struggle with the detrimental economic effects of the Gulf War. The Gulf Returnees Employment Programme, initiated in 1991 by a cooperative of Canadian NGOs including MAP, SUCO (the lead agency), Centre d’études arabes pour le développement (CEAD), Development and Peace, and the Canadian Palestinian Foundation, continues to assist Palestinians by subsidizing employment positions for Palestinians with cooperating non-profit organizations in the Occupied Territories. Through this project, more than 750 Palestinians have been employed by 36 different Palestinian organizations and institutions.
Casualties of the intifada include more than those directly affected through injury or disability. Since 1989, MAP has been involved in a project to match Canadian sponsors with Palestinian children living in refugee camps, towns, and/or villages throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip whose families have been deprived of the principal wage earner, either father or elder brother, killed, permanently disabled, or imprisoned during the Intifada. The In Ash el Usra Society in Al-Bireh, West Bank, identifies children eligible for sponsorship, receives the funds for transfer to the families and maintains contact between the foster child and the sponsor. The Society has been an excellent and irreplaceable partner in the continued success of this endeavor. In 1992-93, 34 children were sponsored through the programme.
Heal the Children
This project was initiated in 1988 to provide specialized medical services to children injured during the intifada. Cases were selected based on type of injury and treatment required, as well as the financial situation of the family. In cooperation with the Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation (NECEF), three children were brought to Canada in 1988-89 for medical care provided by Canadian physicians. The project also assisted many other children who received treatment in local Palestinian hospitals. Today, MAP continues to work closely the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, a charity based in United States, to arrange for children with serious injuries North America for treatment.
Hospitals and Health Services Assistance project
The combination of increased conflict and prolonged curfews has a devastating effect on the ability of hospitals and clinical to provide adequate services. In Gaza, a massive upsurge in casualties has seriously strained the resources of Al Ahli Hospital, particularly the intensive care unit. The Hebron, Jenin and Tulkarm areas also found their health services taxed to the breaking point. Through this project, MAP was able to deliver urgently required assistance to secondary health services in these areas. The project’s funds were used to address the immediate and most critical needs, and included providing emergency medical supplies and materials to the Patients Friends Society (Gaza); Red Crescent Society (Hebron); Patients Friends Society (Jenin); St. Luke’s Hospital (Nablus); Red Crescent Society (Tulkarm) and Ahli Arab Hospital (Gaza). The project was funded by a grant received in 1992 from the Pontifical Mission in the Occupied Territories.
Humanitarian and Medical Aid Convoy
In December 1992 a crisis erupted when over 400 Palestinians were expelled from the OPT and became stranded in the “no-man’s land” between Israel and Lebanon. In January 1993 MAP took part in a convoy made up of representatives of international aid and development organizations from seven European and North American countries carrying food, fuel and medicine to the expelled Palestinians. The aim of the mission was to provide badly needed supplies to the Palestinians and to press for their return in accordance with international law. In addition to taking part in the convoy, MAP prepared the list of needed medical supplies for the mission.
Emergency Assistance for Gaza and Hebron
In December 1992, MAP and Development and Peace made an urgent appeal for assistance to the Canadian International development Agency-International Humanitarian Assistance Division (CIDA-IHA), The request was in response to appeals from health care facilities in the Gaza Strip and the Hebron area who were suffering dramatic shortages in medical material and supplies. These shortages were due to an increase in the frequency and intensity of conflicts and the inevitable increase in casualties, combined with the imposition of prolonged curfews. The project was approved in March 1993, The assistance transcends factionalism and ideological or political outlooks in order to concentrate on those agencies that provide the most effective and critical health services in Gaza and Hebron. Approximately 60% of the funds went to Gaza; the remaining 40% went to Hebron.