This morning, we heard some wonderful news from Ramallah. Since 1996, a group of residents have been waiting for the approval of their application to launch a Rotary Club. Finally, the Ramallah Rotary Club was chartered in the spring, and was presented to the 30,000 rotarians present at the International Rotary Conference in Montreal.
What does this have to do with the Birthing Center that you are helping us to build? Everything.
The Ramallah Rotary Club has approved our plans for the first Palestinian Birthing Center in Area C, to be built in Al Aqaba, and will join us in raising funds.
This is a huge roadblock that we have crossed. The Rotary partnership is one essential piece of completing this project. Due to its ambitious scope, we could not raise the funds for the center from individuals or rotary clubs alone. Both are necessary, and the Rotary network brings a great deal of opportunity forward.
Executive Director of the Rebuilding Alliance, Donna Baranski-Walker comments:
"Because Rotary is involved, we are bringing the proposal forward at clubs throughout California, and to add the Ramallah club to the list is a great joy. There is considerable bravery on all sides, because the the Rotary Club of Nazareth is welcomed by Al Aqaba and all involved as a strong supporter in the project. It's taken a year and a half to bring this all together, and we are delighted to give many communities the opportunity to help."
Though we still need your help, and have a lot of work ahead of us, this development is heartening, especially now. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. We have seen these peace talks before, and we must remember now that talking is not enough. We have to build together to really make peace. And to pursue a building project so essential for women's health in Area C, where demolitions of Palestinian homes continue, is all the more important. Much of Area C is the Jordan River Valley, and the Birthing Center in Al Aqaba is nestled there. It not only provides a vehicle of health, but a way for Palestinians to
Join us in celebrating the new Rotary Club of Ramallah, our new partnership, and a path to move forward with the Birthing Center!
Good news from Al Aqaba! In January, I attended an engineering conference in Doha Qatar concerning Gaza reconstruction. That made it possible for me to visit our projects in Palestine and Israel; my first stop was the West Bank village of Al Aqaba.
I had last seen Haj Sami Sadeq, the mayor of Al Aqaba, in 2008 when he joined our speaking tour that spanned the United States. The mayor is paraplegic, so I did all of the driving. He returned the favor this time by picking me up in Ramallah in his specially modified car that allows him to accelerate, brake and steer using only his hands (see photos).
It was wonderful to see him again and to spend two days in Al Aqaba, strolling the brand-new streets of the village, meeting villagers and Haj Sami’s extended family and discussing challenges as well as future building projects. We visited our kindergarten, now 3 stories high, with 130 students in attendance, the Ibn Rush’d Library upstairs and 1.5 floors housing the Rural Women’s Cooperative’s sewing machines, giving moms jobs. We visited the 3 new apartments being constructed for visiting English teachers; and new classrooms to double the size of Al Aqaba’s elementary school. We talked about the demolition orders (still in force) and the status of the village’s master plan and the hope that its approval will assure the village its right to issue building permits on the land to which it holds clear title.
It was a great pleasure to visit the little 2-room clinic in Al Aqaba that with your help, will expand into a Birthing Center with ultrasound, heart monitors, and an incubator. When our Birthing Center project reaches its fundraising goal, we’ll install refurbished medical equipment and provide training along with an ambulance with portable incubator. This ambulance will not only be the first mobile neonatal care unit in Area C of the West Bank, it may be the first ambulance in all of Area C.
How will this delivery be possible? The Rotary Club of Nazareth, Israel, in partnership with my Rotary Club of Woodside / Portola Valley California will draw upon their Rotary connections to assure the delivery of the medical equipment and ambulance. I look forward to telling you more about this in future updates!
Thank you again for your wonderful support!
Due to your wonderful generosity, our 1st Palestinian Birthing Center in the Jordan River Valley received the support of the most number of donors in GlobalGiving UK’s Alive and Learning challenge! GlobalGiving will give us a grant of 250 pounds! We could not have done this without your help! We are so grateful to our wonderful supporters for coming through for us to launch this important project.
Fund raising will continue for the Al-Aqaba Birthing Center project through the months to come, so please do spread the word! We are very excited to watch this very important project take shape. We look forward to the day that pregnant mothers can give birth to their babies in a safe, accessible environment equipped for emergencies. We are in the process of applying for more grants and hope to fulfill this dream very soon!
In further news, the new American Consul General is scheduled to visit Al-Aqaba this week! Haj Sami Sadik, the Mayor of Al-Aqaba has told us that he speaks Arabic! More news to come soon!
We are grateful to all of you for helping us succeed in the challenge.
The village of Al Aqaba is proud to announce that many children will be traveling to Israel to visit and exchange with an elementary school in Tel Aviv. Al Aqaba started their Summer Peace Camp for children as well. In addition to creating exciting arts and crafts, the children will be making more than 1000 origami Pinwheels for Peace. Each pinwheel will be displayed around the village and presented worldwide on World Peace Day, September 21st 2009. To view Al Aqaba on the official Pinwheels map, go here: http://www.pinwheelsforpeace.org/
This birthing center project is in the process of discovering supplementary funding resources. In addition to contributions from Global Giving donations and the Assist International grant, The Rebuilding Alliance is applying for a Competitive Matching Grant from Rotary International. The Rebuilding Alliance has secured a sponsor from the United States, and is working now to find an international sponsor for the project.
For more information the birthing center project, visit our pbwiki site: http://rebuildingalliance.pbworks.com/Campaign-for-1st-Birthing-Center-in-Al-Aqaba
We’re so grateful for your support of our work in Al Aqaba! Please spread our message to your family and friends and remind them that every small donation carries us towards winning a matching grant in the Global Giving competition. Stay tuned for more updates about how you can become involved!
July 3, 2009
To Whom It May Concern:
Assist International has been asked by Donna Baranski-Walker and her Rotary District 5170 Rotary Club, to be a service vendor for a neo natal and pediatric clinic at the Al Aqaba Village, West Bank Palestine (Area C). In addition, this proposal is being submitted to GlobalGiving.com, in the hope that donors eveywhere will help us meet our goals.
Al Aqaba Village is a small village in the upper North West part of the West Bank of Palestine. The Rebuilding Alliance has built a new kindergarten and children’s park in the village and they now are committed to provide a children’s clinic in the village. Rebuilding Alliance has asked for an ambulance, delivery table, a desk, two chairs, a file cabinet, two fetal monitors, one ecg machine, two patient full perimeter monitors with neonatal, pediatric and adult capability, one infant warmer, one stethoscope, one ambulance gurney, two bassinets and an ultrasound machine.
This is equipment needed for a baby and children’s clinic in the village. At present, if there is a critical care situation, a patient must be moved to Jericho for treatment on bad, often restricted, roads, a least a two hour trip. In case of a critical care baby with complications after child birth or a mother who has a tearing during child birth which puts her into a critical condition that could mean her life, the equipment we provide for the clinic is capable of saving a mother and child’s life. It will change a room of death into a room of life.
As you might know, it will be a challenge to do a project in the West Bank, but in the spirit of Rotary, Rotary commits to meet the needs of the poorest and neediest, no matter a person’s race, creed, politics, or religion. Assist International is also willing to meet the challenges that comes with doing a major project in the West Bank of Palestine and is willing to serve as a service vendor for this Rotary Project.
At the request of various Rotary Districts and clubs, Asst International has partnered with Rotary Clubs and the Rotary Foundation in projects in Romania, Chile, Mongolia, China, Africa and other countries around the world. Assist International has done over 80 medical projects in over 45 countries around the world and all systems are still operational and providing life saving care.
Assist International will warrantee the equipment for one year. One of the keys to the success of the project is the training that we provide on how to use the equipment and how to maintain it. Assist International will not only provide the best of medical equipment but training, maintenance and repair manuals as well. Assist International will also abide by the laws of the West Bank Palestine Authority and will agree to participate in a financial review of the project if asked.
If there are questions, you can contact Bob Pagett of Assist International. The office phone is: 831-438-4582.
Robert J. Pagett
Charter Member – Scotts Valley Rotary Club
Rotary District 5170
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