The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund is celebrating 25 years of saving lives as a nonprofit humanitarian organization in the Middle East. What started as a personal effort for our CEO, Steve Sosebee, a journalist who arranged free care in Ohio for an injured brother and sister from Hebron, with the support of Dr. Musa and Suhail Nasir in Los Angeles, has evolved over the past two-and-a-half decades into one of the most effective, efficient and transparent organizations in the Middle East.
We have touched the lives of tens of thousands of innocent children by providing them surgery through hundreds of volunteer missions from all over the world, sending nearly 2,000 children abroad for free care and healing tens of thousands more Palestinian, Iraqi, Lebanese and Syrian children through different humanitarian projects, regardless of their nationality or religion.
The journey has not been without hardships and tragedies. In 2009, we lost our head social worker and one of our founding members, Huda Al Masri, to leukemia. A couple of years later, our first volunteer surgeon, Dr. Mike Peters, passed away in San Diego. Two years ago, a great Italian plastic surgeon, Dr. Luca Ortelli, also passed away after many volunteer missions with the PCRF in which he treated hundreds of burned children. We honor these amazing people by continuing their legacy, particularly Huda Al Masri, who has Palestine’s first pediatric cancer department in her name. The Department is now open and treating patients in Beit Jala Hospital.
When we started the PCRF in 1992, we never expected that our work for continue for decades to come. We wanted to help the few children we were seeing in my field work as a journalist to go abroad for free medical care they could not receive locally. However, as you joined us and enabled us to take on bigger projects and missions, we met the challenge of providing free medical care to these children and many others face on, by growing and expanding to where we are now – one of the most trusted, respected, and dedicated NGOs in the region. Unfortunately, the Middle East remains a region with huge political and economic struggles for tens of millions of its children, and we are ready to continue to meet the needs of these kids for another 25 years.
In celebration of this huge milestone in our organization’s history, we have released a new logo which captures the essence of our work. Unfortunately, the impact of occupation, war and poverty on the lives of millions of children in the Middle East requires that the PCRF continues to grow to meet the humanitarian needs of these children and to address the weaknesses in the health sector for long-term sustainability. As a 100% privately funded nonprofit, we need your continued support to enable us to take on these challenges and to build more pediatric cancer departments, provide more children surgery, support more orphans, and change more children’s lives. We hope that we will continue to grow in the many years to come, with you by our side.