Thank you again for making it possible to realize a dream in the creation of the first Palestinian Birthing Center in Area C, the Jordan River Valley. We're getting closer to project implementation as we work to address three important questions: (1) Customs Approval, (2) Staffing for 24/7 access, and (3) RI Matching Grant paperwork.
Customs Approval: This is especially challenging because we must seek approval from at least 2 and possibly 3 countries, each with their own regulations regarding the import of refurbished medical equipment. Do it wrong and there could be tariffs or huge delays. The Rotary Club of Ramallah have been researching possibilities and meeting with Palestinian ministries seeking advice and waivers of tariffs and taxes. Assist International is in touch with the Israeli Ministry of Trade to confirm that they are providing a waiver of tariffs and taxes as well. While in Washington DC, I met with American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) to learn how they approach challenges like this and received their offer of help too. We're closer now to moving forward.
Staffing Up for Round-the-Clock Care: As you know, babies are born on their own schedule, so round-the-clock staffing will required for our Birthing Clinic. That's the staff we'll be training as part of this project. When we first drafted this proposal with Al Aqaba's Mayor Haj Sami Sadeq, we assumed the Palestinian National Authority would readily provide the staffing needed when the time came. However, sanctions leading up to and following the U.N. vote for recognition of Palestinian statehood, mean that the Palestinian government is unable to pay its current staff and in no position hire new staff. Recently, the director of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, Dr. Allam Jarar and Dr. Ruchama Marton of Physicians for Human Rights — Israel spoke at Stanford University Medical School. I asked both for their help. Next step: I'll soon contact the British Consul General in Jerusalem to ask if British funding is available for staffing, as the British built Al Aqaba's clinic building. If you have an in with the British Foreign Service, please ring me at 1 650 440 9667.
Transfer of the Rotary International Matching Grant Funds: this should be straight-forward once all i's are dotted and t's are crossed. Overall, that approval of the RI Matching grant is just good, significant because some seven Rotary Clubs in the SF Bay Area signed-on to help, along with the Rotary Club of Nazareth Israel and the Rotary Club of Ramallah Palestine.
I want you to know that you are part of a dream that took shape back in 2008. You see the light at the end of the tunnel, and usually only the next two steps ahead are visible. Take those two steps, reach out to all who can help, and the next two steps become clear. Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!
With love and gratitude,
P.S. GlobalGiving is offering a remarkable 100% match for new recurring donations — our Birthing Center will certainly benefit from and deeply appreciate your long-term commitment. Throughout the entire month of December, GlobalGiving is matching new monthly recurring donations 100% up to $100 per donor. This could be a wonderful gift for the holidays! To participate, click the Donate button and select "Recurring Donation".