For Fatima, the wellbeing of her family and community is of utmost importance. And this is what the 24 year old volunteer for the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) is working for every day. „My goal is to serve my community, I feel like I have a duty to do so. Every person deserves to be supported and cared for.“
Supporting communities in the Gaza Strip
Fatima is a health education volunteer for the Palestine Red Crescent Society in the Gaza Strip. She is one of many volunteers that are passionately working on serving their communities and supporting their neighbors and families in health related matters. In cooperation with the British Red Cross, CANON and the German Red Cross, PRCS is training volunteers within the different communities all over Gaza in promoting preventive health care and in training First Aid. These volunteers then assist the most vulnerable with regular house visits and trainings, and therefore share their knowledge and strengthen the overall resilience in their respective communities.
Fatima explains, why this is so important – 1.3 million people in the Gaza Strip are in direct need of humanitarian health interventions. The destruction of vital health infrastructure during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict is a large contributor to the reduced availability of health services. While the health system is slowly recovering from the impact, shortages of medicines and medical disposables, as well as access restrictions to the health system continue to have a significant impact especially on the most vulnerable. The reproductive health needs of women and their responsibilities related to the health of children, as well as the care for the elderly and disabled family members, are suffering from the direct consequences.
Volunteers like Fatima are essential contributors to the improvement of the situation of the people of Gaza. In the event of an emergency, with the support of PRCS, their work ensures that affected families and volunteers can react quickly and effectively to protect, immediately care for, and if needed, access treatment even for the most isolated and vulnerable members of their community.
Fatima is proud to being able to help
Being a full time volunteer and studying social work at the Islamic University in Gaza City at the same time is a lot sometimes for the young woman. Still, Fatima is not short on gratitude for her profession. She is health worker, psychologist and teacher during her volunteering work. The people in her neighborhood respect her and appreciate the help she is providing. She recounts many cases that make her feel proud, where she sees a direct effect of her contribution.
„You know, when you can support an overwhelmed mother or care for an elderly person that struggles with every day tasks to have a better and healthier life, then this is the biggest reward I can imagine.“
Photos: Oana Bara/German Red Cross