BY RON FINKEL AM
There are moments in life, generally quite rare, when one is entitled to take a step back and reflect with satisfaction on the progress of one’s ‘baby’. This certainly is the case with the recent awarding of a major grant by the European Union to one of Project Rozana’s earliest initiatives – the Binational School of Psychotherapy (BSNP).
The grant of €741,286 (US$820,250 – CAN$1,O87,200 – A$1,193,650) is a game-changer for our organisation, something we could only dream of when we launched in 2013.
The BSNP, established in 2016 with funding provided by World Vision Australia, began as a pilot project. It brought together eight Palestinian and eight Israeli child psychologists for training in the latest techniques for the treatment of Israeli and Palestinian children suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD).
Fast forward three years. The BNSP has now secured funding for a four year accredited training program that will upskill a total of sixty child psychologists – thirty Palestinian and thirty Israeli.
By every measure our work in the areas of transportation, treatment and training has blossomed. The seeds that we planted with the launch of Project Rozana in May, 2013 have literally taken root and begun to make a meaningful impact in a challenging region of the world.
An Australian initiative has gone global. Project Rozana affiliates are now active in Canada, Israel and the USA, in addition to Australia. The number of Israelis and Palestinians impacted by Project Rozana programs is in the many thousands and growing rapidly.
But we do much more than provide a ‘hand out’. We are deeply committed to providing the Palestinian health sector with a ‘hand up’. Building much needed capacity while doing so in a respectful way, that brings Israeli and Palestinian health professionals together and builds better understanding between the two peoples through health.
As we enter a new decade, I not only look back with pride but forward with genuine eagerness knowing that the first phase of our journey has provided a truly robust foundation upon which we will build a sustainable and impactful organisation. Through our work we will go a significant way to ensuring that a large cohort of Israelis and Palestinians will get to know each other. Up close and personal, in a way that they hasn’t happened since the Second Intifada in 2000.
Our thanks to our supporters and partners on the ground who are making this possible.
Ron Finkel AM, Project Rozana International