WHEELS OF HOPE
ROAD TO RECOVERY
Primarily supported by our ‘Wheels of Hope’ program, there are around 2,000 Road to Recovery volunteer drivers in Israel. They come from every part of the country, all ages and backgrounds and from every political persuasion and religious belief.
Meeting the ‘other’ gave him a new perspective on loss and grieving and he resolved to make a difference. And RtR was born.
- 9,650 trips were made from checkpoints to hospitals and back.
- Fuel costs for 42,120 kms were refunded to GLSHD West Bank volunteers, the remaining fuel costs being donated by volunteers.
- 30,000 people-to-people interactions – patients plus caregivers.
- 55 percent male, 45 percent female patients.
- The ‘Erez Minibus’ provided daily transportation for approximately 50 patients from Erez Crossing to East Jerusalem hospitals.
- Volunteers dealt with 75% of the trips. Taxi drivers undertook 20 – 30 longer trips per week.
- 100% response to requests for trips from the West Bank and Gaza to hospitals in Israel.
- 90% response to requests for trips from Gaza to hospitals in East Jerusalem and Nablus.
HUMANS WITHOUT BORDERS
HwB’s core activity is driving Palestinian families with critically ill children from the checkpoints around Jerusalem to hospitals in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Also many families do not speak Hebrew or English, so volunteers facilitate contact between hospital staff and patients, and deal with bureaucratic problems. Other volunteers visit the children in hospital to play with them, and help with their education.
In addition, HwB arranges for medical equipment to be offered for home use.
Like other Wheels of Hope partners, HWB organizes rehabilitation and fun days in the summer, for Palestinian child patients and their families. They take them to resorts and beaches in Palestine and Israel. These activities help change the narrative from conflict to cooperation. Building better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. There is a wider value to offering these services. To quote Humans without Borders,
“In this era of barriers, fences and bloodshed, one of HWB’s most important goals is to create and maintain personal connections among the volunteers and the Palestinian families. Such personal contact promotes mutual understanding and friendship.”
GREEN LAND SOCIETY FOR HEALTH DEVELOPMENT
GLSHD has been an effective and committed partner, mentoring the healthcare service and using its goodwill to raise awareness of the need for volunteer drivers. Through meetings with local authorities and community health providers, they more than doubled the number of committed volunteer drivers.
Following the success of the first year of GLSHD’s volunteer driver program, Project Rozana increased its annual support to GLSHD so it can expand this free medical patient transportation in the West Bank. The aim is to provide transport to every patient in need, from home to checkpoint and back. They hand over to Road to Recovery and Humans without Borders drivers, on the Israeli side of the checkpoint. By the end of 2019 there were 150 registered volunteer Palestinian drivers in the program. They drove almost 100,000km, over 3,000 transfers for 321 patients.
This seamless home-checkpoint-hospital-checkpoint-home service is changing lives for the better.
GLSHD Coordinator Ruba explains the main reasons that people choose to become drivers.
“Some of them want to help when they have relatives who are sick. Some are related to children or patients who died and want to contribute to honor people who helped their family. There are some who feel for the first time that they are doing something valuable for society. We also have volunteers already taking a patient and would like to take another one with them.”
Asked whether the experience has changed how the drivers perceive Israel and Israelis, Ruba noted,
“From our observation, yes, this has happened. One of our drivers, Ahmad, was injured by the IDF. Since he learnt about Project Rozana and joined the volunteer service, he is dealing well with the Israeli drivers who receive and return his patients at the checkpoint.
Also, we hold fun days for volunteers at Murad Tourist Resort near Bethlehem. Both Israeli and Palestinian volunteers meet and realize that the most important thing is to be partners in making children happy and smiling.”
The inspirational head of GLSHD, Dr Abdul-Rahman, with patient families and volunteer drivers.