MAP’s partner: Bringing smiles to hospitalised children in East Jerusalem

Rasha Kaloti, MAP’s Programme Officer in the West Bank, describes a fun initiative in Al Mekassed hospital recently supported by MAP’s partner in occupied East Jerusalem, Al Saraya Centre.

Through our partnership with Al Saraya Centre, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is helping to support the psychological wellbeing and dignity of Palestinian children growing up in the tense climate of the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. At the centre, children aged 6 to 17 can take part in a range of activities to develop life skills, safely discuss the daily challenges they face, and learn about Palestinian culture and heritage in a safe and welcoming environment.

At the end of November, nine young people from Al Saraya Centre visited Al Mekassed hospital in Jerusalem as part of a community support initiative they had devised. There they visited the paediatric ward and played with children receiving treatment at the hospital, some of whom had travelled from Gaza for medical care unavailable back home.

During the visit, volunteers from Al Saraya kept the children entertained in the hospital’s playroom. The activities they coordinated included interactive and creative games and storytelling. They also delivered gifts to the children.

Some volunteers also visited children on the wards who were not well enough to come to the playroom.

The patients and their families were very excited and happy about these activities. The volunteers also reported feeling a great sense of achievement, being able to contribute to their society and help children like themselves.

One patient’s mother reflected: “My son has been very bored these past days, today I can see that he is very happy, thanks to Al Saraya for organising this.’’

A Children’s Trainer from Saraya added: “These initiatives serve the people or communities in need. The volunteers deliver what they had learnt while playing games with the patients, and this way they truly learn life-skills by practicing the skills that they are learning at Al Saraya. I can see that they are becoming more and more confident and have become better at solving problems.

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