WHEELS OF HOPE
Green Land Society staff, patient families, volunteer drivers and Project Rozana members meeting together
GREEN LAND SOCIETY FOR HEALTH DEVELOPMENT
GLSHD has been an effective and committed partner, mentoring the healthcare service and using its goodwill to raise awareness of the need for volunteer drivers. Through meetings with local authorities and community health providers, they more than doubled the number of committed volunteer drivers.
Following the success of the first year of GLSHD’s volunteer driver program, Project Rozana increased its annual support to GLSHD so it can expand this free medical patient transportation in the West Bank. The aim is to provide transport to every patient in need, from home to checkpoint and back. They hand over to Road to Recovery and Humans without Borders drivers, on the Israeli side of the checkpoint. By the end of 2019 there were 150 registered volunteer Palestinian drivers in the program. They drove almost 100,000km, over 3,000 transfers for 321 patients.
This seamless home-checkpoint-hospital-checkpoint-home service is changing lives for the better.
GLSHD Coordinator Ruba explains the main reasons that people choose to become drivers.
“Some of them want to help when they have relatives who are sick. Some are related to children or patients who died and want to contribute to honor people who helped their family. There are some who feel for the first time that they are doing something valuable for society. We also have volunteers already taking a patient and would like to take another one with them.”
Asked whether the experience has changed how the drivers perceive Israel and Israelis, Ruba noted,
“From our observation, yes, this has happened. One of our drivers, Ahmad, was injured by the IDF. Since he learnt about Project Rozana and joined the volunteer service, he is dealing well with the Israeli drivers who receive and return his patients at the checkpoint.
Also, we hold fun days for volunteers at Murad Tourist Resort near Bethlehem. Both Israeli and Palestinian volunteers meet and realize that the most important thing is to be partners in making children happy and smiling.”
Pictured below is the inspirational head of GLSHD, Dr Abdul-Rahman, with patient families and volunteer drivers.
for all Wheels of Hope transportation programs, or check out ‘Adopt a Driver’.