NewsLetters(1)

From Jan.2007 to April-2009

 Introduction

 The Palestine Trauma centre for victims’ welfare (PTC) is the first centre in Palestine and the Arab world which specializes in looking after war or occupation victims by integrating psychological and social therapies within traumatised communities.

 This centre was established as a charitable institution (Nongovernmental \ Non-profitable) in January 2007, mainly aiming to provide the specialized psychological, social and therapy services for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It provides free welfare services in four basic areas: prevention and rehabilitation therapies, counseling and social support.

The (PTC) seeks to help victims of war, occupation and the siege of Gaza. It reacts to traumatic events by sending specialists into an area where they rebuild lives by dealing directly with families, doctors, social workers, and teachers. It co-ordinates a number of therapies to rebuild support structures and maintain the psychological health of the community. It has a particular interest in the welfare of children.

We are most grateful to Muslim Aid and Interpal for their charitable aid and for helping us to establish the PTC in order to meet the basic needs of the psychological and social services in Palestine.

 These are the main achievements of Palestine Trauma Centre (PTC) from 2007 to today. 

Main Achievements and Activities (2007 – 2009)

From the beginning PTC has tried to achieve high levels of professionalism in work by psychologists, social workers and volunteers to implement adequate intervention programmes. As a result, the centre has a responsibility to provide training skills, psycho-social projects and therapeutic programmes as follows:

1-Establishing the Palestine Trauma Centre for Victims’ Welfare (PTC) in Gaza and furnishing the Centre. This project was funded (£816) in March 2007 by donation from St. Albans Jamie Mosque. PTC bought some chairs and tables to be able start serving the Palestinian community effectively.

2-Establishing the Palestine Trauma Centre for Victims’ Welfare (PTC) in Gaza and furnishing the Centre. This project was funded in November 2007 by the Muslim Aid – UK (£24,718).

PTC was equipped with all the technical aids and office furniture needed to be able to serve the Palestinian community effectively.

 3-Providing medical and psycho-social services to children in the Gaza Strip. This project was funded in August 2007 by Interpal-UK (£3,000).

 4- Training for Therapeutic and Rehabilitation: PTC organized several rehabilitation courses for the benefit of 45 psychologists and 36 social workers such as:

– Counseling (individual-group) [70 days],

-Therapy with psychodrama [70 days],

-How to deal with children [70 days],

– Human Rights [One day],

– Mind Body Medicine techniques [30 days],

– Rapid response with children at levels of danger [12 days],

5- Providing material relief for needy and traumatized Palestinian families such as Eid gifts, a sheep for Al-Adhha Eid and food baskets funded by Muslim Aid (UK). Approximately, 350 families have benefited from this.

A-Ramadan 2007, 2008 (£2000 + £2000).

B-Qurbani 2007, 2008 (£1500 + £1500 + US $ 1500).

6- Providing material relief for needy and traumatized Palestinian families in Ramadan-2008:

This project was funded (£10,000) by Interpal (UK). Approximately, 500 families have benefited from this. The project is implemented by PTC sharing with the Palestinian Student Care Society, Al-Wedad Society for Community Rehabilitation, Nour Al-Marifa Charitable Society. The project was implemented aiming to give direct and immediate aid to the Palestinian community as follows:

50 food parcels 10% feast gifts and 40% cash assistance Zakat, from the total sum of £2,500 for each society and PTC assigned 10% of the feast gift to arrange an entertainment and ceremony for the presentation of gifts, sweets and other items to handicapped children.

 7-PTC established the Family’s Psycho-Social Support Programme, which aims to support children and their families who suffer from mental, social or health disorders and who live in marginalized areas in the Gaza Strip. Through this programme, we are still working with 10 children and their families and expecting many other families to join us. Therefore, we are applying for additional sponsors and donors to support this project. This project was funded up to (£2,538) from 17/10/2007 until 15/9/2008 by a Muslim brother living in Swansea-Wales in the UK. This project is still operating today.

 8- Furnishing the PTC and establishing a children’s games hall and a computer lab (April 2008):

This project is funded (£10,000) by the Interpal at the UK. The gymnasium has served 600 children and the computer lab has helped 154 students and employees so far.

9- PTC established two units of emergency & rapid response to work in times of crisis where people are exposed to the destructive activities of the occupation, such as the demolition of houses, bulldozing of land and the killing or wounding of children.

Through these units the PTC has successfully implemented two important projects as follows:

 Project A:

Emergency and Rapid Response Project North Gaza post Incursion. The project duration was from 15\2\2008 until 30\4\2008. This project includes three domain-integrated parts such as Practical Relief Programs, Entertainment Programs and Cultural Programs.

2,855 children and families, who were exposed to psychological shocks resulting from Israeli shelling of their schools and nearby places, benefited from the programs. In addition, 630 parents benefited from the cultural program. This project was funded (£12,000) by Interpal and Muslim Aid (UK).

Project B:

The project duration was from 31/12/2008 and will end on 10/05/2009. The project was implemented in northern Gaza and the middle zone. This project includes three domain-integrated parts: firstly, Emergency and Rapid Response Project for the victims of war (during the war); secondly, the psychosocial rehabilitations; thirdly, the therapeutic and councelling unit with PTC providing regular, ongoing services to the victims. 59,650 traumatised children and families benefited from the above services. This project was funded (£50,000) by Muslim Aid (UK).

10- Therapy based on the Internet through Berlin Treatment Centre for Torture Victims.

This project operated from 1/5/2008 to 30/12/2008 and is still going on. The project is supervised by a group of international psychiatrics and social workers experienced in psychological intervention. The aim of this project is to treat each case by using the internet within five weeks where sessions take place between a psychiatric expert(Arab or other), followed up by a psychologist in the area. The sessions between the psychiatrist and the patient are secret. This technique is applied in cooperation with the Berlin Anti-violence and Trauma Centre, Germany.

ٍDozens of cases who are in need of psychological assistance and support benefited from the project in Gaza. This year many institutions have asked to become acquainted with this service and wish to exchange experiences.

11- Distributing school bags on the poor Students in the Gaza Strip (September 2008):

The PTC received (550) school bags from the Top Line company (Gaza). The bags were distributed to the poor students directly. Fifty bags were given to the Palestinian Student Welfare Association to be distributed to poor students. ًStudents were greatly encouraged after the 550 bags had been distributed and became more motivated to continue their studies. The operation improved coordinating activities between the Centre and schools and universities.

 12- The PTC has actively participated in local and international conferences relevant to the objectives of the Centre.

 13- PTC with the active cooperation of the Clinical Psychology Department at the University of Hertfordshire(UK) has been developing a family therapy approach (Intervention Programme) for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorders(PTSD) among the Palestinian children and their families in the Gaza Strip. This project is funded by our two partners: Muslim Aid and Interpal (UK).

 14- The PTC has several units, including Project Development, Training and Research, Psychiatric Treatment, Psychological and Social Support, Public Relations and Information and Monitoring and Evaluation. The PTC also has committee for Education in Psychological Awareness and committee for The Rapid Response Team.

 Donations Collection in the UK:

A- Donations before the war on Gaza from March 2007 to Dec. 2008 (the overall amount is £4,298)

1-Organization Donations: (£135 from the Islamic Society at the University of Hertfordshire, £321 from Swansea Central Mosque, £ 1,277 from The Islamic Society- at the University of Warwick).

2-Individual Donations (£500 from Swansea-Wales, £539 from Hafiz, £110 from the University of Warwick, £786 from Adnan, £530 from several people in the UK).   

B- Donations during the war on Gaza and after from December 2008 to April 2009 (the overall amount is £9,059)

B1:

1-Organization Donations: (£2002 from Darul Uloom-London, £2485 from Newham North Islamic Association, £197 from the Islamic Society at the University of Hertfordshire).

2-Individual Donations: (£125 from Newham North Islamic Association, £500 from Eaton Road-Islamic Centre, £50 from the Islamic Community at St. Albans Jamie Mosque, £100 from the University of Hertfordshire).

 Notice 1: the overall donations in section B1 is £5,460, which has been transferred directly to Palestine Trauma Centre in Gaza via Muslim Aid(UK) to help the children and their families.

 B2: £2,720 from St. Albans Jamie Mosque, £708 from Watford Friends of Salfeet & £171 from the Welwyn Hatfield & East Herts Amnesty International Group.

 Notice 2: the overall donations in section B2 is £3,599. We use these donations to help us develop the International Palestine Trauma Centre and provide immediate treatment to the Palestinian children and their families.  

 Success Indicators

 The PTC is getting very well known by the governmental, national institutions and the local community. People are attending to follow up their children’s activities and workshops. The number of cases visiting the centre has regularly increased. Financing of the proposed programs and activities needs to be increased. The centre’s activities have been covered successfully by a wide range of local and international media.

 Aspirations

 -Because of the high rates of trauma in the Gaza Strip after the last invasion, especially among children, the PTC is ambitious to increase the number of  families benefitting from the centre’s programs and activities.

– It also wants to increase the number of psychologists and social workers, as well as develop staff training.

– By expanding coordination among local community institutions (national & government) it is hoped that policies and plans will aim to broaden the field of psychological work in all the Gaza Strip areas.

– It plans to set up specialized psychological therapy programs in the centre and to complete this work when patients re-enter their communities. 

  Challenges

 As you are all aware of our situation during the siege before the invasion in Gaza, it will come as no surprise to learn that we are facing horrendous conditions for reaching our target to provide services to all people exposed to traumatic experiences.    

– The siege imposed on Gaza Strip reduces the opportunity of providing psychological services and logistic assistance.

– Increased numbers of different traumatized cases have resulted from the recent invasion of Gaza. 

– The need to broaden the rapid response team and develop their professional skills is urgent.

– Local community institutions desperately need PTC as a specialized centre.

– A specialized therapy unit is needed for serious psychological cases.

– A sharp increase in financial burdens on the centre has resulted from the increased number of services provided to the community.

– The necessity to open new branches in the Gaza Strip governorates to facilitate the services provided to the community has become urgent.