Monday, April 11, 2005
From Jenin to Bethlehem: struggling to be self reliant
posted by: salam max at 12:06 AM

Abdullah Said, one-and-a-half-years-old, during a play-therapy session at LCORD.

I finally wrote up this piece I was writing about an organisation in Jenin I went to visit in March, and it got published on Electronic Intifada. There is a roundabout link to the Bethlehem ghetto, so here's the relevant section:
To get artificial limbs fitted in Palestine is sadly something which is in high demand, due to the high rate of injuries from military invasions. But for treatment at a fully equipped hospital, you have to travel to either Jerusalem or to the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation in Beit Jala. As the West Bank has been carved up by the Israeli roadblocks, walls, fences and Jewish-only roads connecting the settlements, traveling from one end of occupied Palestine to another is impossible for most Palestinians.

Nick Pretzlik, from the UK, once escorted Hassan, an 11-year-old boy born with spina bifida in Jenin, to the hospital in Beit Jala for treatment. That was in January 2003, and he describes seeing Hassan's progress five months later, in his moving book Three Weeks in June, "I could tell from Hassan's smile that he was pleased to see me. He has no visitors. Because Palestinians are forbidden to travel, none of his family can get there from Jenin. He misses them terribly and worries about events at home..."

In 2003, LCORD proposed setting up a clinic for children with artificial limbs. They sent two specialists to Jordan to be trained in how to fit the artificial limbs. Upon completion of their training last year, they have since returned to Jenin, but LCORD can't afford the equipment for the new clinic. They have received funds for this project already from TAMEKEN, USAID, UNRWA and from the local community in Jenin itself. The money raised, however, was $7,000 short of their goal.

So, as you can imagine, they were pretty pleased to see me arrive one Saturday morning with over a thousand dollars in cash for them. A friend of mine contacted me to ask if I could help them find a good community-based organization to donate some money they had raised for Palestine. LCORD still needs several thousands of dollars to obtain the equipment necessary to start the clinic.
The last line is also important:
If you would like to help LCORD raise the money they need to equip their new clinic for fitting artificial limbs, then please contact them for more details: from abroad; 00972 4243 5640, or locally; 04 243 5640 or email Locore2003@yahoo.com.
And Nick Pretzlik's book, Three Weeks in June can be obtained by emailing Ursula Pretzlik at upretzlik@yahoo.co.uk or by visiting www.nickpretzlik.com.
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