ROAD TO RECOVERY
Partnering with Project Rozana, Road to Recovery organises volunteers to transport mainly Palestinian children, for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals, from checkpoints on the border of Gaza and the West Bank.
A sister service operates inside the West Bank and transports patients and their caregivers from their homes to the checkpoints where they transfer to the Israeli drivers.
Yuval Roth, Road to Recovery founder
(Photo credit: Elhanan Miller)
This is a seamless service for patients who are already under stress due to their illness and the financial implications for their families.
All transfers are offered at no charge to the patient, many of whom are children, and their caregiver. The alternative is the high cost of commercial transport which, in many cases, would represent a prohibitive cost to the Palestinian families. Its founder, Yuval Roth, chose a path towards healing after losing his brother in 1993 at the hands of Hamas terrorists. He joined a support group of Israeli and Palestinian family members who had lost a loved one under similar circumstances.
Meeting the ‘other’ gave him a new perspective on loss and grieving; he resolved to make a difference – no matter how small or incremental – and Road to Recovery was born. This perspective aligns with the values of Project Rozana which is committed to building a better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians through health. Today, there are close to 2,000 volunteer drivers in Israel. They come from every part of the country: all ages and backgrounds, those who are employed, be it full or part time, and those who are retired or unemployed, and from every political persuasion and religious belief.
Uniting them is the humanitarian mission of Road to Recovery and a shared belief that healthcare can sow the seeds of coexistence.
Below is a volunteer driver with her passengers.
ROAD TO RECOVERY WEST BANK PROGRAM
With the involvement of Project Rozana, which adopted Road to Recovery as one of its key pillars in 2015, there has been an increase in funding for this important service and its introduction in the West Bank via the Hebron-based Green Land Society for Health Development (“Green Land”).
Central to Road to Recovery is the building of mutual respect, trust, dialogue and friendship. In 2018, with Project Rozana support, Road to Recovery expanded the volunteer driver program to the West Bank. Partnering with Green Land, Road to Recovery is now able to offer a “door to door” service provided by volunteer Palestinian and Israeli drivers.
Today, there are around 60 Palestinian volunteer drivers, but this number is expected to grow as news of the program’s life-saving work spreads. Project Rozana helps with the fuel cost, which has been an impediment to attracting drivers due to relatively high unemployment in the West Bank. Green Land has been an effective and committed partner, not only in mentoring the healthcare service but in using its goodwill to raise awareness of the need for volunteer drivers. Whereas Road to Recovery in Israel transports patients to and from the checkpoints to hospitals in Israel, the West Bank program transfers patients and caregivers to and from their homes to the checkpoints. This end-to-end service is changing lives for the better – patients, caregivers, drivers and their respective families and friends.
‘ADOPT A DRIVER’ CAMPAIGN
AROUND 2,000 ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN VOLUNTEER DRIVERS REGULARLY PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION FOR PALESTINIAN CHILDREN FROM THEIR HOMES TO CHECKPOINTS ON THE BORDER OF GAZA AND THE WEST BANK AND FROM THE CHECKPOINTS TO HOSPITAL APPOINTMENTS IN ISRAEL.
Volunteer driver, Yoel Hirsch – Kibbutz Afikim – Northern Israel with a patient and family members
Maestro Zubin Mehta and the volunteers help a Palestinian family from Nablus.