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SOS Social and Medical Centres in Palestine

In Palestine there are currently three Social Centres and two Medical Centres for children and the local community, including those in Rafah, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Many SOS Social Centres operate via Family Strengthening Programmes, which aim to support the wider community. Medical Centres provide treatments and services to the local community. Below is some information about some of the Centres that SOS Children runs in Palestine.

SOS Medical Centres around Palestine: In-Depth

Bethlehem

Description of SOS Medical Centre

For increased mobility the SOS Medical Centre Bethlehem was set up inside a container. It can easily be put on an articulated vehicle and taken to other places. Thus, help can be given where it is needed most. Inside the container, there is a simple doctor's office and a small laboratory. About 4000 patients get treatment at the SOS Medical Centre per year.

Palestinian Children by Mobile Trauma Centre

The SOS Medical Centre Nablus and Hebron, Jenin and Tulkarev (permanent psycho-social relief centres) were established as a satellite clinics of the SOS Medical Centre Bethlehem, so called medical points. Apart from providing medical care to the neighbourhood and psychological therapy and assistance to Palestinian children and families - as mentioned above - these centres also offer training for educators and parents and provide counselling for mothers. About 14000 people avail themselves of the services of the SOS Medical Centres each year.

Work and Achievements

Each centre is staffed with a social worker and psychologist and a psychiatrist who is meant to visit each centre once a week. The centres provide social and psychological services to children and their caregivers. These activities include: workshops and seminars for women and children, counselling sessions for women and children, weekly group therapy sessions, individual sessions, and weekly psychological support for children. The workshop topics vary from a child/youth development issues to personal development issues such as dealing with depression, marital counselling, and other important issues.

The centres also conduct outreach activities that include visiting of local schools (government and private), kindergartens, women’s centres, home visits, and meetings with other local and international psycho-social centres. The objective of such outreach activities is to provide guidance and awareness to the local community. Our centres also regularly host university students who are training in psychology and sociology as part of their study hours. We receive university students from Al-Quds Open University, Jerusalem University, Bir Zeit University, and Al Najah University

Gaza Strip

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP

FSP started in Gaza in 2004.

Work and achievements

This year FSP Gaza cared for 945 children a total of 197 families throughout Gaza. This year a total of 45 new children were added and the programme as opposed to the usual increase of 200 children as a result of the financial crisis. FSP is now present in seven different geographic areas throughout the Gaza Strip.

Many children have been severely traumatized by the recent events and psycho-social support has been a key focus of this year. In addition this year work was done with Community Based Organization’s in project management, networking, and communication skills. Despite our efforts we still struggle with CBOs taking over a financial role in the programme.

Caregivers have been provided with continuing literacy courses and educational workshops concerning topics such as: early marriage, gender, child disease health awareness, psycho-drama sessions for abused women, child rights, women’s rights, and basic hygiene lectures. This year caregivers were offered psycho-social support in light of the attacks that devastated the area. The prolonged siege on the Gaza Strip has severely damaged our ability to assist caregivers in finding livelihoods. This extenuating circumstance should be considered when evaluating the programme.

West Bank

SOS Social Centre Ramallah (Bethlehem) Palestinian Territories

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP

SOS Bethlehem started FSP in the West Bank in 2005 and has continued to expand every year, offering its services to more children.

Work and achievements

Currently FSP in the West Bank works in both the Bethlehem and Khalil districts with a total of 840 children making up 201 families. An additional 40 children were added this year, as opposed to the usual 200 as a result of the financial crisis.

This year a total of 13 families graduated from the programme after being able to self-sustain. One family left the programme after repeated attempts to work with the family failed- specifically attempts to return the children to school rather then working was unsuccessful.

Volunteers received increased support from the new FSP Coordinator. Three families received micro-credit loans through a partnership with the YMCA. Caregivers were offered training, workshops, and vocational support in order to work toward self-sustainability.

Rafah

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP

The SOS Social Centre (SOS Centre for Social Resources and Training) opened in Rafah in April 2005. In this SOS Centre university professors provide students from the local universities (approx. 2800 students) with practical and theoretical training courses in fields like computer skills and languages. The SOS Social Centre includes a small SOS Medical Centre.

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