Steve Sosebee – PCRF

by Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik. In the following our interview with Steve Sosebee of the organization PCRF, The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, supporting children in the West Bank and in Gaza. ProMosaik stands for Palestinian rights. Palestinians also live in camps outside their homeland in our Middle Eastern countries. Also there the organisation PCRF helps them in the medical field. On its website the organisation declares: “Our goal is to ensure that, every child in Gaza fighting cancer, has the chance to get the care that they need locally, without regard to politics, religion or money.”
How do you identify and select the children that could benefit from your organization?
We have a variety of ways to identify children in need of treatment throughout the Middle East.  This include our volunteer doctors who go from all over the world to the Middle East who see children who need surgery they otherwise cannot get locally and refer them to us, as well as through our field workers who see children during their work throughout the West Bank, Lebanon, Gaza and Jordan.  We also work with the local health authorities and doctors, who refer patients to us for treatment, and other NGOs.  Finally, people online refer children to us who need help.  Through these different sources, we are able to provide surgery for thousands of Arab children throughout the Middle East each year, in all subspecialties, regardless of their race, religion or nationality.  
How many are the hospitals that you currently assist, by sending volunteers?
We work in many hospitals all over the Middle East, including Jenin Hospital, Rafidiah Hospital, Tulkarem Hospital, The Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem, Beit Jala Hospital, Alia Hospital in Hebron, Shifa Hospital in Gaza, Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir El Balah, the European Gaza Hospital, El Hamshiry in Saida, Safad Hospital in Badawi refugee camp and Haifa Hospital in Beirut.  
Do you carry on capacity building projects? If yes, in what ways?
Yes, we provide training for local doctors to improve their area of expertise, including currently a hand surgeon who we provided a fellowship from Palestine to train in India, and many other training courses and workshops for local doctors.  We also are providing equipment and materials for local hospitals.  For example, we just built a recovery room in a hospital in Nablus, we provided sterilization machines for Gaza Hospitals, we are partnering with other NGOs to build a dialysis hospital in Northern Lebanon, we are building pediatric cardiac programs in Ramallah and Gaza, and most of all we are taking on the issue of Palestinian children with cancer by building departments in the West Bank (here) and also a new one for the children of Gaza (here).  All of this and many other projects are designed to help build the capacity of the local health care providers to better serve their patients.  
How do you ensure the social inclusion of children in need of mental health care?
We have a pediatric mental health project for children who are impacted by the wars and siege in Gaza, the most at-risk children suffering from PTSD and other anxiety, and hundreds of children are being supporter with their families through our program, which is in cooperation with the Center for Mind Body Medicine and the Gaza Community Mental health Programme.   We provide counseling, drugs and other support for children and their families in need. 
Do you cooperate with any local authority or instutution? If yes, how?
We have many partnerships and cooperate with too many organizations to name, but as a start the World Health Organization, The United Nations, and dozens of partners in the USA, Europe, the Middle East and so on, all of which must be vetted to ensure that they are not political and are working for the sake of helping children.  They cannot be on the USA government’s watch list as terrorist organizations.