A person without a land owns nothing.
Palestinians have been living in camps for decades in very harsh conditions and have limited to no access to any kind of services.
Wafaa el Hajj is a Palestinian woman living in Bourj Brajneh camp, just outside Beirut and she teaches in a supervised administrative kindergarten. She stresses the importance of awareness-raising among children regarding hygiene. “Children should be taught about hygiene before they’re taught to read or write, it’s the essence of everything”. As simple and basic as this seems, it will protect them from many diseases.
Thanks to the Red Cross, refugees and local communities have access to basic healthcare and awareness-raising activities as they cannot afford to go to hospitals and are often turned down because they cannot pay. “If I come to the Red Cross, and put them in the emergency room they will be looked after by a doctor,” says Wafaa.
In addition to living in very hard and inhumane conditions, Palestinians are denied of the most basic human rights as they have no access to jobs, housing or medical care. “It’s all because a Palestinian can’t own a house. Because I’m Palestinian, I have to live in a camp, and it’s like a big prison,” she explains.
Despite all the Red Cross efforts there are no sufficient resources and with the arrival of Syrian refugees in the camps, Wafaa insists on the need for more healthcare projects “We’re suffering from overpopulation, we’re always in need of any project that serves the camp from a health point of view”.
In addition to the hygiene awareness campaign, a campaign about breast cancer was launched by the Red Cross. It mainly focused on the method of self-examination, a simple check that can save many lives especially since many women are embarrassed or shy to talk about this subject.
Implemented by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), with the financial support of the EU Trust Fund, the campaign aims to promote good hygiene habits among people and raise awareness on major public health risks. The project helped more than 75,000 Lebanese, Egyptians, Iraqis and Syrians.