Celebrating International Women’s Day: the women behind MAP’s vital programmes

To mark International Women’s Day this week, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is celebrating the outstanding women enabling our work in support of Palestinians’ rights to health and dignity.

Whether MAP team members, leaders in our partner organisations on the ground, volunteer medics visiting from the UK, or community members advocating for local change, here are just a few of the many inspiring women driving forward our mission to ensure the rights to health and dignity for Palestinians in Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory:

Arti: Delivering surgical training in Gaza

Ms Arti Garg is a UK-based surgeon who is helping to ensure Gaza’s health workers stay connected to updates and technical developments in the outside world. A consultant surgeon at Newham Hospital in London, Arti has travelled to Gaza twice with MAP to help develop surgical skills amongst Palestinian health workers in Gaza. Following her nomination for the “Barts Health meets Vogue” inspiring women awards, Arti described her time in Gaza as her “proudest moment as a surgeon”.

“My proudest moment as a surgeon is to have successfully completed two mission trips to Gaza to provide surgical and humanitarian care. This was a soul satisfying and unique experience. During my time there I performed complex keyhole surgeries on patients suffering from cancer and other chronic bowel conditions. This was a challenging experience due to the lack of resources, frequent power shortages and limited accessibility to pretty much everything. Coming back to perform surgery in the UK, the land of the bountiful, has made me more aware of the privileges we take for granted.”   

Ola: Supporting women and children’s health in Lebanon

MAP’s team of midwives provide the only home-visiting midwifery service to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. This service is essential with rates of maternal and child mortality and morbidity remaining high.

The work of the community midwives has helped to increase breast-feeding rates, lower anaemia, and reduce high-risk pregnancies among Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

In an interview with MAP Ola, one of MAP’s community midwives, told us about her work.

Hiyam: Promoting dignity amongst East Jerusalem’s youth

Hiyam Elayan is the Director of Al Saraya Centre, MAP’s partner in occupied East Jerusalem. Based in the Old City, the Centre provides a range of activities for Palestinian children aged six to 17.

Here, Hiyam describes how she and her team are helping young people to safely discuss the daily challenges they face and learn about Palestinian culture and heritage.

Majdeh: Advocating for Palestinian disability rights

Majdeh, a young woman from Gaza, is taking a leading role in advocating for the rights of Palestinians with disabilities. Speaking to MAP about the difficulties she faced growing up with a visual impairment, Majdeh explained “I faced two types of discrimination, as a woman and a woman with a disability”.

With support from MAP’s partner the Nusirat Rehabilitation and Social Training Association, Majdeh is now one of Gaza’s leading advocates for disability rights. “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, I am now a professional trainer for promoting the rights of people with disabilities in Gaza. Having lived and experienced such pain and hardship, I am a strong ambassador for disability rights.”

Jane: developing Palestinian breast cancer care

Jane Macaskill is Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Scotland. Jane has travelled to the West Bank five times with MAP to help develop breast cancer care. In the video below, Jane explains what she has been up to this week in the West Bank:

Thank you!

MAP would like to thank all the many women who are enabling our vital programmes, and celebrates their work not just on International Women’s Day, but all year round!

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