Sr Shirley Aeria, Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood recently attended a workshop held by Caritas Gaza on raising awareness of the human rights of the elderly in Gaza. Sr Shirley wrote the following special report documenting the positive impact the project has had on the lives of the elderly.
The Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood in partnership with Caritas Jerusalem/Gaza have successfully implemented a well organised system funded by Misean Cara to enable the elderly people of Gaza to gain access to medical facilities, raise awareness of the medical needs of the elderly in Gaza and also to highlight and promote their right to services. This was done in the hope that the health of the elderly people would improve and consequently, reduce their morbidities.
Sr Bridget Tighe FMDM, Director of Caritas Gaza together with lay staff and other community members have helped to successfully organise and implement the system of delivering the services to the elderly.
Although elderly people have been the main beneficiaries, the project has a far reaching impact on families. It helps to reduce the stress and anxiety felt by families caring for elderly relatives who are already suffering from other setbacks and challenges such as unemployment. This project has also brought together other elderly people in Gaza and enhanced their social life when they come together for regular social gatherings or other meetings at the clinic.
Indirectly, the project has also continued the good working relationship with other NGOs such as the Care Based Organisation (CBO) as they share their resources in terms of personnel and buildings.
I had the privilege of attending one of the workshops held by Caritas Gaza on raising awareness of the human rights of the elderly. A panel of speakers at the event included Sr Bridget, a leader from the Muslim community, the Director of CBO and a Medical Consultant. One attendee at the workshop was quoted as saying:
‘Our Prophet Mohammed said that we must take off the tears of our elderly people, and Misean Cara did that.’
There were around 40 elderly participants at the workshop, and some of the participants shared the positive impact the introduction of the Misean Cara funded medical facility has had on their life.
Special Report by Sr Shirley Aeria, Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood.
Photo caption: Sr Bridget Tighe, Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood, Director of Caritas Gaza speaking at the workshop.